South Africa Commemorates Marikana Strike Deaths

Co-workers of 34 miners shot dead by South African police during a violent wage strike sing and dance as they gather on August 16, 2013 in Marikana to mark the first anniversary of their deaths. Today marks a year after police opened fire on thousands of strikers at platinum producer Lonmin's mine, northwest of Johannesburg, which killed 34 and injured 78 people. The August shooting was described as the worst police brutality since the end of apartheid two decades ago. Three days ago, the firm has recognised radical labour group AMCU, which led the wage strike, in an attempt to ease simmering inter-union tensions on the platinum belt. AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN        (Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

South Africa Commemorates Marikana Strike Deaths

South Africans gathered on Friday, Aug. 16 to remember the Marikana workers strike and the people who died in subsequent police confrontations and clashes last year. The ruling ANC party pulled out of commemoration activities at the last minute.

Published August 16, 2013

South Africa is holding a memorial ceremony to commemorate the 34 workers killed by police during a strike over wages at a platinum mine in Marikana last year. 

The deadly clash marked the nation’s bloodiest labor-related violence since the end of the apartheid era in 1994.

Workers at the Lonmin platinum plant began the week-long, unauthorized strike on Aug. 10 to demand a monthly salary of $1,251. The strike culminated in a massacre when police opened fire into the crowd of protesting workers, sparking additional killings of police and security officers over the next three days.

Originally scheduled to attend, President Jacob Zuma and members of the ruling ANC party pulled out last minute, highlighting the political conflicts between the ANC-allied labor union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the more dominant union for minors in the area, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU).

As Reuters reports:

The two unions have been involved in a deadly war for members among South Africa's mineworkers, accusing each other of being behind killings of members over the past few months.

At Marikana, thousands of people, many of them wearing green AMCU T-shirts, gathered on and around the rocky outcrop dubbed by media the "Hill of Horror" where the strikers were killed last year, most falling in a hail of police gunfire.

Marikana worker Paulos Mpahlela, 60, expressed anger at the government and ANC's decision to stay away.

"We are hurt, the government should be here. They should have taken the trouble to come and be here because they're the leaders," he said.

Read the full story here.

BET Global News - Your source for Black news from around the world, including international politics, health and human rights, the latest celebrity news and more. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter. 


Written by Patrice Peck


Latest in news