Wednesday 5 November 2014

Film Africa Season [Miners shot down]

I went to see this film tonight not quite knowing what to expect, but I can honestly say for a good few minutes as the credits rolled, the audience just sat. in silence. Nobody moved.

This film was so moving, and I think it's a film that everyone should see.

It documents the story of the Marikana mine workers strike of August 2012.
Lonmin, one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines ( British company) workers began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days later the police used live ammunition to suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more.

The film follows the strike from day one, with real footage, and interviews with those involved .. with some notable absences. It is perhaps those absences that are most telling.
However, one interesting interview is with Cyril Ramaphosa. I can honestly say, I recognised his face but didn't really know his position ( deputy president of ANC) neither did I know that he was once leader of the National Union of mineworkers, and once sat of the board of Lonmin. This conflict of interest is explored in the film.

It's such a sad tale. I really felt for those mine workers. They just wanted a decent wage.
If you watch this and still feel capitalism works, or don't feel sickened by violence, let me know. Because I think it will impact on you as it has me.
I was reminded of just how fortunate I am. When I see what others are dealing with I'm humbled by it. One miner said ( the one on the ground in green) that he thought he would die, and that he would never see his family again.. because of money.
No amount of money is worth more than human life, human love, and kinship.

I'm really enjoying this African film festival. I've learnt so much, and it's really made me think about things in a different way.
Such is the power of film.

Article on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's involvement /non involvement [click]


  1. I really would like to see this film, so I'll watch for it. I remember the incident very well. It was just so horrible. I mean we are in the 21st century; you'd think we would learn as a species. Instead it feels like things are getting worse and worse.

    You know, we had a similar thing happen here in Colorado in 1914, just 100 years ago: The Ludlow Massacre. The number of striking miners, women and children who were killed by the Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel & Iron Company (owner: John D. Rocketfeller, Jr.) is not certain, but it was around two dozen. The strike spread and the numbers killed rose (69-199 people). Things may have gotten better here, but it seems like the exploiters just move somewhere else and continue with the same old cruelties.

    Labor is a dirty word here in the USA. So are union and union members. The GOP is falling all over itself having suddenly discovered concern and caring for workers, income inequality, and the hollowing out of the middle class. It will be fascinating to see how everything plays out over the next two years in the US. If only it weren't so sad and wrong.

    I was a union activist for many years, and proud to be one. But since retiring, I've been recovering my health. I worry about regular people and what's happening to them. Thanks for sharing this, Dawna.

  2. I didn't know about the Ludlow Masscre Fundy. It's so appalling I'm almost lost for words really.
    Profit over people. I don't know where we're heading as people. Being a union activist is a huge undertaking.. good on you for doing that.. enjoy building up your health now.
    Pay people a decent wage.. don't exploit people. compromise, listen to them, communicate , negotiate, and for gods sake don't shoot them. people have value.. we've got to try to respect each other.. at the very least, see the humanity in each other. Sure, look out for the film Fundy, the makers have a website anyway you can check it out for more info

  3. Need to look for it and watch it then I come back and make a commentary. Looks the kind that would interest me. Thanks for your kind comment on

    1. the ANC leadership..does not come out well in this film/case
      Ritah, The film made me wonder how easy it is for seemingly good men and women to lose sight of their original intentions once in power, or once they are paid enough. I'm embarrassed.. i disagree with the lady, that was not good policing

  4. Sounds like a really intense film!

    1. It is Intense Sherry!.. that's a good word for it