Asbestos Youth Awareness Workshop: Asbestos the Silent Killer 

Report compiled by Prudence Kotoloane, Kuruman Asbestos Interest Group



The workshop was held at Sedibeng Primary School on June 16, 2018. Facilitators were members of the Asbestos Interest Group (A.I.G); target groups were learners from local primary and middle schools.


The Asbestos Interest Group1 is a non-profit organisation based in Kuruman Town. The Group is responsible for educating people about asbestos and identifying asbestos in local municipalities. The main aim is to create asbestos awareness in John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipalities. The awareness is achieved through workshops, campaigns and community awareness initiatives. The asbestos Interest Group is funded by the Asbestos Relief Trust (A.R.T) and the Kgalagadi Relief Trust (K.R.T). This is the fifth asbestos awareness workshop conducted by the Asbestos Interest Group on South Africa's Youth Day.


The attendance was very good.

The following schools participated:

  1. Ineeleng Primary School
  2. Maipeing Primary School
  3. Ncweng Primary School
  4. Reitemogetse Primary School
  5. Galotolo Primary School
  6. Khiba Junior Secondary School
  7. Lehikeng Primary School
  8. Galotolo Primary School
  9. Khiba Junior Secondary School
  10. Reaiteka Secondary School
  11. Thusego Secondary School

Principals from the following schools were present:

  • Gamopedi Primary School – Mrs. Sekobe
  • Ncweng Primary School – Mrs. Ntau
  • Khiba Secondary School – Mr. Mokgwabone


Candle Lighting

We had a candle lighting ceremony in which candles were lit for the following reasons:

White Candle: to give hope to those affected by asbestos related diseases. We hope that one day there will be a cure for these diseases.

Yellow Candle: to give courage and strength to those taking care of the bed-ridden asbestos related disease patients.

Navy Blue Candle: to give comfort to the families that have lost their loved ones because of asbestos related diseases.




All attendees were given individual candles to share the light of the main candles:


[Note: because of the intense pink/red light in the tent used for some of the workshop some pictures have been rendered in grayscale to make them clearer.]

Ice Breakers

The children played a game called “mixed fruits”; the aim of the game was to get pupils to mix with others from different schools.

Different ice breakers were used throughout the programme to keep the pupils awake and energetic.


Information Searching

The pupils were divided into groups (Apple, Banana, Pear, Mango and Orange.) and assigned different questions related to asbestos. Each group made a collective presentation about asbestos. The presentations were perfect, subject well known and the presenters were confident.


Group discussing presentation.


Group discussing presentation.

Some of the groups making presentations:






The Asbestos Legacy

Asbestos activist Mrs. Lucia Mereotlhe gave the background to the pollution of our district with asbestos fibres.

Back in the years, men used to dig out asbestos bearing rock, while women were cobbers of the asbestos fibres (releasing them from the mined rock) and children used to pack the fibres in sacks. The family would then sell the sacks of asbestos as a way of bringing income to the family.

She also mentioned that most villages in Kuruman are polluted by asbestos because of the uncovered dumps of asbestos mines surrounding our villages.

We were made aware that there are still buildings in our areas that are built with asbestos bricks; there are schools that still contain asbestos bricks. This is a hazard to our lives as these building are getting old and the fibres are now visible. She made pupils aware of these, and advised them never to play with asbestos fibres.


Mrs. Lucia Mereotlhe making a presentation.

A.R.T Palliative Care Nurse – Sr. Phemelo Magabanyane

Sr. Magabanyane spoke about the asbestos related diseases: asbestosis, pleural plagues and pleural thickening, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

She also gave information about the process an individual undergoes to investigate asbestos related diseases.

She showed a sample of x-ray’s that indicate the above mentioned asbestos related diseases.

She alerted the school pupils about their right to a safe environment, to prevent further pollution and keep their surroundings safe.


Sr. Magabanyane making a presentation.

Asbestos Art Competition

All schools participated in the Asbestos Art Competition.

Some schools produced drawn art work, others dramas showing how people get affected by asbestos and the results of being affected by asbestos, including effects on family life. Each school made a presentation on their art works. The presentations were done by pupils.

Different stories presented by pupils told how they could generate asbestos dust in the school yard during playing and even at home.

The winners were as follows:

First Prize winner for primary level – Maipeing Primary School


Pupils from Maipeing Primary School receiving their trophy.

Second Prize winner for primary level – Gamopedi Primary School


Pupils from Gamopedi Primary School receiving their trophy.

Third Prize winner for primary level – Lokaleng Primary School


Pupils of Lokaleng Primary School receiving their trophy.

First Prize winner for secondary level – Khiba Secondary School


Pupils from Khiba Secondary School receiving their trophy.

Second Prize winner for secondary level – Reaiteka Secondary School


Pupils from Reaiteka Secondary School receiving their trophy.

Third Prize winner for secondary level – Thusego Secondary School


Pupils of Thusego Secondary School receiving their trophy.

Attendance Certificates & Bags

The Asbestos Interest Group awarded all students attendance certificates & workshop bags – two of the recipients:



Gifts to Best Performing Learners

6 learners were awarded a school bag.
3 learners were awarded a mathematics set.
3 learners were awarded calculators.

Two learners who were given bags:




May we take this opportunity to thank the Asbestos Relief Trust, the Kgalagadi Relief Trust and the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat for the Education programme initiative. It strengthened the Asbestos Interest Group’s campaigns and teachings around Kuruman communities.

We also thank our Department of Education, district office for allowing us to host the event at Sedibeng Primary and also for giving us the permission to involve other schools.

We hope the Youth Day workshop will perpetuate and keep on teaching pupils on a yearly basis.

Knowledge is power and it is mandatory to teach children about the importance of a safe environment.


Uploaded July 13, 2018


1Asbestos Interest Group, 10 Accacia Street, Kuruman, 8460; P. O. Box 898; Kuruman, 8460; Tel/Fax 053 712 2947/082 844 3909; Email:



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