Pretoria — South Africa will begin a period of mourning on Monday to commemorate the lives of South Africans who have died violently, especially the 44 people killed in incidents at Marikana, North West.
President Jacob Zuma declared a period of national mourning from 20 - 26 August, the Presidency said.
Thirty-four striking miners from the Lonmin Platinum mine were killed and 78 injured in clashes with police last week. Earlier, 10 others -- including two police officers - were killed.
The period of mourning is also for the eight members of the community-based anti-stock theft group called Isikebhe, who were ambushed and killed in Pomeroy near Msinga in KwaZulu-Natal.
Flags will fly at half-mast at all flag stations in South Africa and missions outside the country during the period of mourning.
Zuma has also declared 23 August as the official day for memorial services to be held across the country to mourn and promote a violence-free society.
"The nation is in shock and in pain. We must this week reflect on the sanctity of human life and the right to life as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic. We must avoid finger-pointing and recrimination. We must unite against violence from whatever quarter. We must reaffirm our belief in peace, stability and order and in building a caring society free of crime and violence," he said.