Story of Marikana moth­ers shows tragedy is not yet over

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SAMEER NAIK

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.