Jonathan Smith’s fascinating documentary ‘They Go To Die‘ screens at the Ritzy Cinema tonight at 7pm – with a Q&A with the director. The film investigates the widespread problem of tuberculosis (TB) in the mining community of South Africa’s goldmines.
Following the lives of four ex-miners who contracted TB and were subsequently dismissed from labour – only to return to their villages in southern Africa with no further treatment for their illness – They Go To Die is a stark narrative of exploitation of migrant labourers.
Jonathan Smith, who is an epidemiologist at Yale University, told Brixton Blog ‘I don’t feel I gave [the miners] a voice – I feel they have their own voice, and I simply used film as a vector to disseminate what they were saying.’
The film describes how day-in, day-out these labourers inhale silica dust which disrupts the usual functions of the lungs and makes people more susceptible to developing TB. When labourers become too ill to work, they are simply dismissed and replaced.
Smith has been working with advocacy organisation Results UK, who are working to promote this serious issue across the UK. ‘Results UK has taken this issue head on and developed tangible actions that UK citizens can take to lend a hand in this issue,’ Smith tells us. ‘They really developed the advocacy message – I am not very well trained in advocacy, so all of the credit goes to them.’
Be sure to catch this powerful and engaging film tonight, along with a chance to talk to Jonathan himself.