18 March 2014

South Africa: Mining Crisis, Marikana - Marching On When You Don't Have a Prayer

Photo: Sapa
Police on the scene at Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana in the North West (file photo).


Religious and community leaders from Marikana took to the streets with a spiritual message for the negotiators from Lonmin. Hoping to break the deadlock, they tackled the mining strike with faith and prayer. Whether that's enough for the miners - who are growing desperate after nine weeks - is another matter.

After nine weeks of striking, it was only prayer that was going to get these marchers to the gates of Lonmin. Well, prayer and some heavy negotiation.

After substantial back-and-forth with security, religious leaders in Marikana - and a strong contingent of the community's women - were finally allowed to march to Lonmin management's offices. In scorching heat they undertook the six-kilometre walk, singing spiritual songs.

"God, it is all in your hands... " rang out over the streets.

Every step is followed by prayer for a positive outcome, said one of the marchers. "We hope they will hear what we bring them. We have serious trouble coming our way."

Talking to the marchers, it becomes clear that those with a strong political interest in the "trouble coming" are in the minority; most are genuinely more interested in the spiritual side - hoping for a peaceful...

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