GS 405 Week 11 Blog Post
This week’s reading focused on the book Marikana: Voices from South Africa’s Mining Massacre by Peter Alexander, Thapelo Lekgowa, Botsang Mmope and Luke Sinwell. These researchers provided a legitimate voice for the workers who were on strike and were originally blamed for the killings in the official discourse. Lonmin workers were making R 4,000 per month equivalent to $500 U.S.
The majority of the protesters were Rock drill operators who led the strike. These men would work 12-hour days in very harsh conditions without any benefits and in the article it was said that many of the workers suffered serious injuries while working in the mountain. The Lonmin Mine is the 3rd largest Platinum mine in the world as South Africa holds 77% of the World’s Platinum reserves. The massacre was not only preventable it was also planned. The Lonmin Mine is a British mining company that have been extracting platinum in South Africa for over 30 years and the executives carry heavy influence within the South African economy that they could not afford for production to stall so they had to take matters in their own hands with cooperation of the police. In addition the media played a vital role in oppressing the group on strike. The South African media government, and the National Union of Mineworkers kept portraying the protest workers as dangerous savages to the public to display a negative image. However in contrast, the researchers witnessed a consistent peaceful, disciplined and organized group of people. The Marikana Mining massacre was not just a human tragedy but a sober undertaking by powerful agents of the state organized to kill protest workers who temporarily stopped going underground to extract the world’s most precious metal, platinum. The article was not all filled with gloom and sad events it also include aspiring accounts as the workers did not fall back in silence after their 34 colleagues were murdered, instead they became determined and inspired to close the Lonmin mine down completely and eventually the mine bosses agreed to their salary demands. The purpose of the research was to provide a explicit understand of what happened during the massacre for the next generation to acknowledge and learn from. This was a very important purpose in my eyes as young people should become educated on how their government tries and continues to take advantage of the underprivileged and minority.