Story of Marikana mothers shows tragedy is not yet over
LOCAL film director Aliki Saragas hopes her latest film, Strike a Rock, will give a voice to the hundreds of forgotten women affected by the Marikana massacre.
The film, which will be screened later this month, tells the story of two mothers, Primrose Sonti and Thumeka Magwangqana, who live in Nkaneng, Marikana. They lead their community against seemingly insurmountable odds, fighting for equality, justice and dignity.
While the Marikana massacre has been documented globally, including in the award-winning film Miners Shot Down, Saragas feels there are many voices yet to be heard.
“Voices from the strong women leaders and the community that surrounds the mine have seemingly been erased from the narrative.”
Saragas said despite the international attention, inquiry and mass activism that followed the massacre, living conditions for the Marikana community have worsened over the past five years.
The massacre on August 16, 2012, left 34 mineworkers dead and 78 people wounded. More than 250 people were arrested.
The protesting miners were demanding a wage increase at the Lonmin platinum mine.
“There has been no accountability,” said Saragas.
“This is what drew me so powerfully to the story of Thumeka and Primrose, who were compelled by the tragedy they witnessed to take on leadership roles, exercising their agency and power. They force us to recognise the story of Marikana is not yet over.”
“I was appalled and ashamed this kind of event could happen in post-apartheid South Africa. When I watched Miners Shot Down for the first time when conceptualising Strike A Rock, I was sickened and angry.”
The 27-year-old has aimed to weave together the perspectives of the women using a sensitive and unobtrusive camera.
“The film takes the viewer on a journey through trauma, history, loss, memory, friendship, and the fear of being forgotten as Thumeka and Primrose survive each day.
“We’re confronted with a very real obstruction of justice and lack of accountability on the side of Lonmin, who shirk their legal obligations to the community and the government, who in turn neglect to ensure that the required socio-economic development takes place.”
Saragas began shooting the production for her thesis towards her master’s degree in documentary arts at UCT.
Strike a Rock will broadcast on AfriDocs on BET Africa on August 20.
Strike a Rock is told through the eyes of two Marikana women.