Cape Town remembers Marikana with films, photos, protests

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

While the Marikana commission of inquiry is still uncovering the truth behind 34 Lonmin mineworker deaths, locals plan to commemorate the second year since their killing.

Police killed Lonmin mineworkers while they were protesting for better salaries at Lonmin mine in the North West province. Police accused the mineworkers of violence when they shot them on August 16, 2012.

Mineworkers on the koppie overlooking the field where their colleagues were killed. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

Mineworkers on the koppie overlooking the field where their colleagues were killed. Pic by Yazeed Kamaldien

A series of events to honour the dead mineworkers have been organised across the country. In Cape Town, events will include a commemorative walk down St George’s Mall, film screenings, photographic exhibitions and public protests.

The award-winning film Miners Shot Down, which shows video footage of police shooting mineworkers, will be screened at The Labia cinema on August 16.

Its synopsis reads: “It follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low-paid workers.”

“What emerges is collusion at the top, spiraling violence and the country’s first post-apartheid massacre. What actually happened at Marikana on that fateful winter’s day two years ago? What were the circumstances leading up to the shootings? And who is to blame?”

Also on August 16, various grassroots groups plan to hold a ‘We Are All Marikana march in Philippi’ for “economic justice”. Organisers said it will start at the Philippi train station at 9:30am.

Their route will lead to the Philippi East police station to “demand an end to police persecution of our communities”. It will conclude at the Marikana informal settlement where a rally would include “performing arts, spoken word, music, speakers from communities, trade unions and Marikana commission”.

Organisers said: “We suffer from a system that dispossesses us, exploits us, and puts the interests of the workers and poor last. We are therefore marching to re-occupy our stolen land, to claim the right to protest and to demand housing, basic services, a living wage for all, and an end to police brutality.”

Participating organisations include the Right 2 Know Campaign, Social Justice Coalition and the Democratic Left Front.

They also said the Marikana commission has “completely failed to achieve justice for the 34 murdered miners and for their families”.

“Not a single police officer or government official nor representative at Lonmin has been punished for the murder. Police officers implicated in the murder still go around intimidating communities and shooting at protesters,” they said.

“Cyril Ramaphosa who called for concomitant action against the miners has now been rewarded as the country’s deputy president.”

A ‘We are all Marikana’ march and vigil “against police brutality” is also planned for August 15 outside Parliament and the Caledon Square police station on Buitenkant Street from 1pm to 5pm.

The city-based African Arts Institute (AFAI) will run a series of events to “remember the 34 miners killed in Marikana”.

On Thursday it hosts a Marikana procession through St George’s Mall, which would include performance poetry and a musical performance by Lingua Franca at Church Square.

It will also screen Miners Shot Down at UCT next Monday and host a memorial lecture at the same university next Wednesday.

AFAI said other events would include “various public disruptions to remember Marikana, public banner drops throughout the city and activists will be renaming things in honor of those killed at Marikana”.

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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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