Marikana’s Massacre Leaves Void in South Africa’s Psyche

Marikana’s Massacre Leaves Void in South Africa’s Psyche

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marikana august 2016

A miner worker covered in a blanket waits at “The Koppie,” a small hill near the site of the shooting of 34 mine workers four years ago.


August marked the four year anniversary of the Marikana massacre yet the victims, their families, and the community feel they haven’t found the closure they deserve. With another year gone, August still leaves a void. The question remains: Will they ever receive the justice they are entitled to? Significantly, August was also voting month and there’s no doubt that the happenings at Marikana have changed the development of South African politics.


marikana massacre


The fight for justice is far from over and many politicians have vowed to seek peace for those souls lost at Marikana but residents have now warned that they are preparing for battle should they be forcefully removed from their low-cost housing. On Friday, the 22th of July 2016, the Mahikeng high court ruled that those occupying housing in the Marikana Extension 2 have until the 19th of September to vacate their properties. The united community have all pooled together and decided that each family would contribute R250 for the appeal case, each blissfully optimistic that this contribution will be enough to save their homes, and more importantly their livelihoods. The housing issue is just one of the many daily challenges the community of Marikana is faced with.


Marikana 2016

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – AUGUST 16: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT) Thousands of striking mine workers demonstrate on a hill near Lonmins Karee Platinum Mine demanding a wage increase on the 16th of August 2012 in Rustenburg, South Africa. Violent clashes between mine workers and police left at least 18 people dead and several others injured. (Photo by Leon Sadiki/City Press/Gallo Images/Getty Images)


Napoleon Webster: “Our brothers who were shot and killed on 16 August 2012 paid for these houses with their blood. These are our houses we are not going anywhere.”
Daily Maverick 31 August: amaBhungane: ‘War’ looming over Marikana housing evictions.


Social media has certainly covered the remembrance of Marikana extensively, but what does this painful memory mean to South Africa? Will we let Marikana be seen as every politician’s golden ticket to do as they please or will we finally take action in regard to the fatal week in August which shook our country?


The Marikana Commission of Inquiry hasn’t received wide praise, given our country’s cruel history with Apartheid, and it would seem that little to no lessons were learned through the Apartheid’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It’s baffling that the victims of the Marikana Massacre didn’t receive more sympathy, more empathy, more hope, more respect — frankly we just owe them more. It would seem that the only lessons we’ll (South Africa) be left with are the memories of the souls that will haunt us every August.


“But, as we commemorate Marikana on August 16, 2016, we need not only mourn for those who were killed for standing up for their rights on the mountain, but also celebrate the power of ordinary people to alter the course of history in South Africa and abroad.”( (2016: Online)


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