Film highlights plight of Marikana women
LIFE for Marikana’s mineworkers has not improved almost five years after their strike for better wages ended in bloodshed, shows a new documentary film.
Strike A Rock, the opening night film of this year’s Encounters International Documentary Film Festival, also shows how women at Marikana, in North West, have tried to hold the Lonmin mining company accountable to its workers.
Despite all their efforts, the women have not had much success in getting help from Lonmin, where police shot 34 mineworkers on strike for better wages in 2012.
After the government’s Marikana commission, which cleared the mine and government officials of any wrongdoing, women who live in shacks around the mines started to look for ways to feed themselves.
Strike A Rock follows the two women who started a women’s group, Sikhala Sonke (We Cry Together), in the months after the mineworkers were shot.
Primrose Sonti, who became an EFF parliamentarian while making this film, and Thumeka Magwangqana are shown lobbying support from their community to start an initiative.
Magwangqana and Sonti were both at the film’s opening night in Cape Town on Thursday.
Magwangqana said in an interview they were planning to take the film to London this month.
It will also be screened at the Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival on June 11.
“I want to see Britain because they are taking the platinum that is being dug by the mineworkers. They are the ones who benefit the most,” said Magwangqana.
“I want the Lonmin bosses to see this film and then after that they can come and ask us, the women, what is happening. We can tell everybody what was happening from the slaying of the mineworkers to now.”
She added: “If Lonmin can’t change their way of treating mineworkers, they will cry. They must change before it is too late.”
...Lonmin must change before it is too late
Magwangqana said Sikhala Sonke needed support for its projects, which include a vegetable garden and soup kitchen. A website promoting the film has more information about their projects.
“Our lives have not improved five years after the massacre. Marikana is still the same. We have poor living conditions.”
Strike A Rock director Aliki Saragas, a UCT graduate who started her film while studying, said she wants the film to be a “powerful tool in Sikhala Sonke’s struggle against poverty”.
“There has been no accountability,” said Saragas.