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Marikana play tells miners’ story

Local

Rustenburg - A musical play portraying the deaths of Marikana mineworkers reduced an audience to tears on Tuesday.

The play, Songs of Marikana, produced and written by Thapelo Mokhutshoane, showed scenes of the gathering of mineworkers, their chanting and demands for a better wage.

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ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH AND INJURY A policeman gestures in front of some of the dead miners after they were shot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, August 16, 2012. South African police opened fire on Thursday against thousands of striking miners armed with machetes and sticks at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, leaving several bloodied corpses lying on the ground. A Reuters cameraman said he saw at least seven bodies after the shooting, which occurred when police laying out barricades of barbed wire were outflanked by some of an estimated 3,000 miners massed on a rocky outcrop near the mine, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) TEMPLATE OUT

“It was touching. It shows what happened in Marikana, how people died and the harsh conditions they are exposed to underground,” said Moses Lebese.

Mokhutshoane said they did not what to touch wounds with the play, but wanted to tell the story of what happened at the infamous Marikana hill near the Nkaneng informal settlement.

Forty-four people were killed there during a wage strike in 2012.

Rock drill operators at Lonmin had spearheaded a wildcat strike demanding a monthly salary of R12,500.

Thirty-four mineworkers were killed on August 16, 2012, when the police fired on them, apparently attempting to disarm and disperse them.

Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

“I was crying when I saw mineworkers drop to the ground. I saw the widows crying, lamenting their loss,” said Maria Gaobepe with teary eyes.

The play showed the scene at the hill, families collecting the spirits of their loved ones and mineworkers dressed in their work gear bowing their heads and kneeling down with their safety helmets clenched in their hands to honour the fallen mineworkers.

The play is being performed in Rustenburg from Tuesday to Friday at 12pm and 6pm.

Sapa

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