A massacre. And nine years later, no one has been held accountable for the senseless deaths of 44 people in Marikana. The reality is that many South Africans have forgotten about the week that changed our South African landscape. Others have chosen not to hear the pleas anymore.
Yet dozens of families, women, children and those who still toil underground remember the week vividly. Their lives were altered that week, and the wounds are still deep. Every year, we commemorate the week from 9 to 16 August. Every year, promises are made but the situation on the platinum belt doesn’t change.
The pigs, goats and people still use the same muddy streets. Shiny new shacks glisten in the distance from the koppie. The widows still grieve after losing more than their husbands.
But they have jobs now, some cleaning up after the mine workers, while others are digging the platinum their husbands used to mine before being mowed down by police.
None of the perpetrators is behind bars. Instead, trials are consistently postponed. The closest to justice anyone has come is when a judge in the North West high court in Mahikeng acquitted four officers for failing to report the death of one of the mine workers who died in custody.
Devastated, with no closure, the son of the mine worker who died in police custody still doesn’t know where his father died and therefore he can’t fetch his spirit. The son sees his father in his dreams, where he stares at him, wanting to be laid to rest. But he can’t obey, because the police will never tell the truth about what happened that fateful week.
It is only those left behind who are haunted and continue to demand closure and justice.
But take a moment to remember these names and their families:
Andries Motlapula Ntshenyeho,
Fezile David Saphendu,
Hassan Duncan Fundi,
Hendrick Tsietsi Monene,
Janeveke Raphael Liau,
John Kutlwano “Papi” Ledingoane,
Julius Tokoti Mancotywa,
Khanare Elias Monesa,
Mgcineni “Mambush” Noki,
Modisaotsile Van Wyk Segalala,
Molefi Osiel Ntsoele,
Mvuyisi Henry Pato,
Patrick Akhona Jijase,
Telang Vitalis Mohai,
Thapelo Eric Mabebe,
Thabiso Johannes Thelejane,
Thembalakhe Sabelo Mati