Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

25 May 2014

South Africa: A Roadshow Like No Other - Striking Marikana Miners, Looking to Win Hearts and Minds

analysis

While former mining magnate Cyril Ramaphosa prepares to take up his post as deputy president, striking platinum miners have taken to the road, touring the country in the hope of winning over public opinion towards their cause - and generating funds to sustain workers who have now been without pay for over four months. It's an acknowledgement that their struggle is as much an ideological battle as it is a practical one.

The campaign will also take in rural areas to give support and advice to other workers, like the farm labourers of the Western Cape, whose protests for a living wage shook the province over a year ago. Are we seeing the seeds of a true workers' revolution being sown?

It's Sunday evening in Observatory, a Cape Town suburb traditionally populated by students, academics, lefties and artist-types, and the crowd packed into a small bar seems to reflect those demographics. They are here to listen to three mineworkers' representatives explain the fight for a monthly wage of R12,500 that has seen South Africa's platinum workers strike for just over four months. Posters and T-shirts remind the audience to "remember the slain of Marikana".

In this room,...

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