Women keep strik­ing rocks

Cape Argus - - NEWS - Yazeed Kamal­dien

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 in the city, also shows how women in Marikana, in the North West prov­ince, have tried to hold Lon­min mine 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 late 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 minework­ers were shot down.

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 last Thurs­day.

Mag­wangqana said in an in­ter­view this week­end they were plan­ning to take the film to Lon­don next week.

It will also screen 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 in an in­ter­view.

“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.”

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 (Lon­min) 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.

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