The book Marikana was an attempt to show the massacres that took place in The North of South Africa’ Platinum belt in August, 2012. The book’s aim is to portray the atrocious acts taken by the Police, Mining Company and Government and to present them through the lens of the victims and their mourning families using accounts of oral re-telling and in depth interview processes shortly after the events would take place. The Platinum mine workers for the Lonmin company began to protest for higher wages. When non-violently confronting their Union NUM they were openly fired upon, days later retreating into the mountains they requested once again peacefully that they have an opportunity to meet with their employer to discuss negotiations for higher monthly wages in order to increase sending capacities to their families and to assist in instalments including work supplies, clothing and groceries. The number 1. employer (Mr. Zokwana) at first not agreeing to meet, would later show up in a HIPPO armoured vehicle to simply made it known that these employees of the mine should return to their duties or the government and police forces would act accordingly and clear them from the land. The five Madoda was the selected representation for the workers trying to achieve their wage increase as they were the best negotiators and most mild tempered, unfortunately the NUM and the employers truly did not care for any form of organized voice and after the police deceivingly saying they “just wanted to build a relationship” with the Madoda and the workers there would be no progressive ground throughout the week. The President of AMCU after failing to bring forth an employer would attempt to appeal to the workers one last time pleading them to return to the mines or else the now arrived government soldiers and police forces surrounding protest grounds would “spill their blood”. The Madoda and the workers declined to move if negotiations would not go on, from that point on HIPPO vehicles would lay barbed wire around the perimeter of their mountain haven and proceed without warning to open fire with machine guns. Many lives were lost and personal accounts reflected upon this day as one of mourning and great sadness, workers who were non-violently protesting for an equitable share of company wages with the recent increase in company stock share value were killed in the mountains running away from bullets and being shot in the back and run down by militarized vehicles and beaten senselessly if caught hiding or left amongst the carnage. This was a traumatizing day and a significant set back for the country of South Africa. It was also reported on some accounts that the NUM were attacking the workers homes in accordance to cracking down on worker non-compliance. Children would now grow up without incomes to properly feed and educate them and worst of all fathers and husbands were lost at the hand of a greedy corporation who saw these people as disposable, unequal and not-deserving of a better life in the mines when they would try to take a stand for working class empowerment. There was a great continuity to the stories told by miners, working conditions were awful (working with chemical, falling debris and commonly contracting TB from dust), over-time work was common with little to no compensation and the onsite medical facilities were not concerned with proper diagnosing and mine foremen would often hide injuries or minors and coerce workers to blame them-self for the accident. Women were also widely marginalized as having lesser rights than males in the mines and could not be seen protesting or rallying union support because they were held to a lesser regard and were more likely to be terminated on a whim by an onlooking worker who sought to display loyalty to the employers by reporting them. Through these tellings you understand that the cycle of poverty in Africa repeats as children are left with no father and will one day most likely have to seek out similar work because they are leveraged socially and economically to do so, while single parents rely on assistance from the sate to subsidize feeding and educating children creating an interdependence which will constrain them from opportunity. It can be understood that in mining life, South Africa’s post apartheid progression has resonated little with foreign mining companies and that mining culture still has a perpetual narrative of segregation, absence of justice and unequalness to it that is demanded by the global capitalistic paradigm that’s sole purpose is to generate wealth and growth at the expense of essentially enslaving people and stripping them of their rights. These violent crimes acted out by the State are an indication that South Africa still has immense progress to make recognizing the rights and capital of their citizens, the ones who work harder than anyone and are the reason some people can enjoy a luxurious lifestyles while others must go without basic necessities, I truly could not believe this was in 2012 during a peaceful protest that’s only act of aggression was taking a brave stance and collectively chanting and singing. Unions are a front, as they serve the employers not the employed and government cooperation with unions also serves as a front as they only serve truly intend to serve the economic interests of the country while corporations have military and police forces in their pocket. This reading was very common in its themes to previous weeks of examining Dam building and Ore mining in the Continent as that post colonial narrative driven by commerce continues to implicate those native to the regions.
Would the mining industry collapse without abusing humans?
Are there any grass roots movements paired with social programs and outside NGO’s possessing capital that could make a voice for these injustices?
How could turning a profit also turn into empowering workers globally? Also, could an intiative be sought using journalism, political connections and media connections to host a transparency campaign?
Also, to plextremely ay devil’s advocate how accurate are these re-tellings right after extremely traumatic events?