On Monday 17th February we organised a screening of Miners Shot Down at Wonderkop Community Centre, Marikana.
Around 200 people came, mostly young men from Marikana mine who had taken part in the 2012 strike and now, ironically, are on strike again for the same R12,500 living wage that sparked the 2012 action. This time the strike is protected by AMCU and involves all three big platinum mines. Although we were really keen to make sure that people who took part in the strike were the first to see the finished film, we were also really nervous about how the film would be received.
The first to arrive were women, community members and about 10 kids. I wondered briefly if we should exclude the kids from the screening, shelter them from the violence. Then I remembered that in 2012, when the police went on the rampage through the mining communities following the massacre, these kids had seen it all. I also remembered the little 2 year old with the rubber bullet wound in his head. Nobody at the time wanted to go public with the extent of brutality people were having to endure as a result of the strike continuing, even after the mowing down of strikers.
After the screening a strange thing happened. We were ready to have a discussion, but people, speechless, just got up and started packing away the chairs. Outside, in the fresh air, with the mine in the background and dusk approaching, individuals quietly began to tell us how they felt. One wistful miner said to me, "Everyone must see this film." Others shook Rehad's hand, in that universal expression of gratitude. Some wanted the DVD and more screenings in Marikana. They were clearly happy with the film.
We can now release Miners Shot Down knowing that we've remained true to the memory of those on the mountain.
The screening was supported by SERI (Socio-Economic Rights Institute), the legal NGO representing the families of those who were killed and also AMCU