Experiences that bring up the hidden wounds

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by Bongi Motahane
(Tokologo African Anarchist Collective)


On 22 August 2012, communities from in, and out, of Gauteng had a meeting at Khanya College, Johannesburg, on the Marikana massacre. More than half of the 50 people who participated, most of the delegates, came from the mine areas affected by the situation in the North West Province.

The Marikana issue is unhealthy and painful, and it brings up experiences that reveal the hidden wounds of apartheid.

In solidarity and support with the working class community of Marikana,  the communities present, together with the mine workers, felt it was important to have a memorial day for the Marikana massacre in the spirit of going forward. The mobilization should be international and spread the word about Marikana in our communities, because what had happened in  Marikana can still happen in any of our communities.  There should also be a memorial wall to write some the messages about the late comrades.

The conditions of the mining communities are so bad that even the state builds the RDP houses for the poor near the waste from the mines. The air quality is harmful to all the people; lots of people are sick with TB, cancer and eye problems. Older people have difficulties in having normal children, because of radiation, that is harmful.

The participants coming from the mining areas want a different world as the working class poor get low wages for selling their labour power to the capitalists and their communities don`t benefit from them going underground.

But what they get when trying to demand back what they produce is police brutality!

Overall the meeting laid a strong foundation: communities are going to protest, and spread the issues and there is an important role for civil society. All communities that attended the meeting promised to support a forthcoming protest march at Merafong to the Chamber of Mines on the 24 August 2012. This is in solidarity with the community of Marikana at the Lonmin Mine.