With the dust now finally beginning to clear over the Platinum miners' strike, it's time to consider the lessons that we can learn. And, perhaps more importantly, the lessons that we may not learn.
Whether through sheer intransigence, or pig-headedness, or simply because it doesn't suit us in the positions in which we sit, it seems there are many aspects to this strike that bring home uncomfortable truths. But in the final analysis, this strike was always, as so many cleverer people have said before me, about far more than just money and working conditions. It was about politics.
In around twenty years from now, when someone, somewhere, considers the moments that really brought long-term change to our political system, this strike is going to feature. In a way, it has been the political story of the last year or so. From the Marikana shootings onward, what has been playing out on the platinum belt has been the strongest indication yet that the political hegemony of the ANC, the post-1994 consensus in which essentially the ANC took on the DP/DA with a few other people sitting on the sidelines, is now over.
With a broad brushstroke caveat...