On August 16, 2012, the police opened fire on a crowd of striking miners in Marikana, North West. The fateful event left 34 mine workers dead.
The protesting miners were demanding a wage increase at Lonmin Platinum Mine. The event was described as the most significant incident of police brutality since the advent of democracy and it revived memories of the brutality suffered under apartheid security police.
After enchanting audiences and critics alike, the renowned musical returns to the stage at the State Theatre, this time back by popular public demand.
Marikana - The Musical is an adaptation by acclaimed multi award-winning playwright and theatre director Aubrey Sekhabi from the book We are Going to Kill Each Other Today - The Marikana Story.
The book was written by Thanduxolo Jika, Felix Dlangamandla, Lucas Ledwaba, Sebabatso Mosamo, Athandwa Saba and Leon Sadiki.
The production uses new compositions by Mpho “McKenzie” Matome and Zakhele Mabena as well as the traditional songs that were sung in unison as the miners expressed their emotions, frustrations, poverty and misery.
The cast of 40, led by the formidable Meshack “Mimi” Mavuso, Aubrey Poo, Emma Mmekwa and Matome unleashes a blow-by-blow account of the events that led to the loss of so many lives.
The story takes the audience back to the villages and townships where the miners came from and gives faces and names to the fallen brothers, sons, fathers and uncles.
Sekhabi says Marikana has been a humbling experience.
“For us the production has been a roller-coaster of emotions. We hope to continue using art to heal, mourn and, most importantly, to teach tolerance.
“Twenty years into our democracy, can we say that we are a tolerant society if we can lose so many lives at our own hands? The killing started prior to the day of the shooting and once it had started it spread like wildfire. Tomorrow morning the men will sing again.
“Their spears, pangas, inculas and sticks will clatter menacingly.
“They will recite battle cries from their homelands and move about in organised columns, raising clouds of dust. But 34 of them will sing for the very last time,” says Sekhabi.
He is proving to be a dominating, influential and positive voice in the arts with an unprecedented 18th Naledi Award nomination in one cycle for two new works. The musical came up tops at the Naledi Theatre Awards 2014, winning the best production of a musical, best director (Sekhabi), best female performance in a musical (Mmekwa), best set design (Wilhelm Disbergen), best musical score (Matome, Mabena and Sekhabi) and best original choreography (Thabo Rapoo).
The production is to be staged at The State Theatre until August 11.