In the tradition of a long line of folk singers, the Marikana tragedy last week moved young Cape Town musician Gareth Smit to write a song about the Lonmin miners' strike which has resulted in 44 dead and 78 injured so far.
The death of 34 miners when police opened fire with live ammunition on advancing strikers on Thursday last week - adding to the ten deaths already recorded in previous days due to strike violence - shocked the nation and sent news headlines rippling around the world.
In response to the shocking news that held echoes of apartheid era massacres, yet occurred in South Africa's new democracy, Smit, a preacher's son who studies at UCT, did what many '80s songwriters had done before him: picked up his guitar and marked a historic tragedy in music.
Smit, however, at 23-years-old, has spent almost his entire life in a democratic South Africa in which no-one believed such tragedies would occur.
Smit wrote and recoreded his song 'Marikana' at home on Friday night and posted in on Soundcloud and Youtube on Saturday morning, less than 48 hours after the event.
With lyrics such as 'they promised us freedom/ they promised us grace./ all we got was a reason/ to repeat past mistakes', he highlights the irony of the police firing live rounds at strikers in a democratic state, while the lines, 'a sister lost a brother/ and a mother lost a son./ Marikana, please remember how your metal's won', he reminds us of the human tragedy occurring in the North West Platinum belt.
The final year University of Cape Town Social Science student said he watched the news on Thursday evening last week and the story kept playing on his mind all the next day.
"The song just kind of happened in about two hours or so," he said.
"It's a song of reaction, urging people of my generation not to get so caught up in why and how it happened that we lose sight of the fact that it did happen. It's a challenge to, remember.
"It's not a song about blame, there's a culpability beyond government and big business that extends to each one of us."
His view was something political analyst Steven Friedman at the Centre for Democracy touched on in a discussion on Cape Talk radio yesterday when he said the Marikana tragedy was largely due to a lack of police training and members of the public who have called for more force needed in policing were culpable.
It was more police training, not force, that was required, said Friedman.
Smit said he was also concerned that people in their twenties were so involved in social media and technology that they had lost touch with human compassion and empathy.
"I don't see the grassroots mobilisation of the '80s happening."
He said the song was as new and raw as the Lonmin mine tragedy itself and he would still refine it, but was due to perform it in public for the first time this Monday (Aug 27) at the Barleycorn Music Club at the Villagers Football Club in Claremont.