16 August – Day of Action

The 16th of August is a special day, as it marks the 2nd anniversary of the Marikana massacre, which saw 34 miners being shot dead. This day, should be a day of mourning, similar to the 21st of March, the day of the Sharpeville Massacre and June 16th when 76 school students were mowed down in Soweto. 16 August – we will not forget!

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We encourage people to come together to discuss forms of action and help us play our part to coordinate the Marikana commemoration on the 2 year commemoration, 16 August 2014. We invite you to tell us what you will be doing to commemorate this important date – if you have something planned please email the details to anita@uhuruproductions.co.za

There are many ways to take action on this day and to show your support for the Justice Now for Marikana campaign. We encourage people to hold and attend Miners Shot Down screenings around the country. So far we have a screening set for the 15th of August at Pulp Cinema in Stellenbosch and 2 screenings on the 16th of August in Cape Town (at the Labia Theatre and at Khulani Support Group). If you wish to arrange or attend a screening please click here for more details…

The African Arts Institute will be supporting the Justice now for Marikana Campaign by embarking on a series of public art interventions in Cape Town. The first intervention is going to centre around 16th August 2014 marking the Marikana Massacre. Ideas on the table include mobile bicycle art, street murals, renaming streets to that of the slain miners, wrapping monuments in green blankets. protest marches and much more. To get involved in these initiatives please get in contact with the organisers here

If you would like to make a donation to support the Marikana Justice Campaign you can make a donations through GivenGain here

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AfriDocs Film Week

Exciting news for Miners Shot Down –  the film will be broadcasted on DStv as a part of the Afridocs Film Week. Below is the press release with all the details…

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A world first will be taking place this month when a full week of African documentary films are broadcast across sub-Saharan Africa on DStv channel ED (channel 190) and GOtv (channel 65).

This unique film event will see a diverse and exciting range of films screened across 49 countries of sub-Saharan Africa, to coincide with the Durban International Film Festival, the largest film festival in South Africa that takes place from July 17th – 27th.

One of the films to be screened will be the South African film Miners Shot Down – the powerful and riveting documentary about the shooting down of 34 mineworkers in August 2012.

Miners Shot Down, the documentary that many commentators have said every South African should see, is also resonating deeply with international audiences due to its global themes of democracy, worker’s rights, citizen activism and freedom of speech.

The film, which will be screened on Thursday 24th July at 19:30 on DStv channel 190 and GOtv channel 65 as part of the AfriDocs Film Week, will also be screened during the Durban International Film Festival.

In the four short months since it was released, Miners Shot Down has been screened to large numbers of people at film festivals across the globe, in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Australasia and will be shown in a host of festivals over the coming months, including special 20 Years of Democracy screenings in Berlin and New York.

With 2014 being used by many to showcase the achievements of South Africa’s 20 years of democracy, Miners Shot Down presents an alternative view – one that needs to be seen and heard beyond the borders of South Africa.

The power of the film and its relevance for people across Africa and the globe is based on its bold and unabashed critique of South Africa in its 20th year of democracy. Taking the Marikana shootings head on – Miners Shot Down – is essential viewing for anyone concerned about preserving the basic democratic rights of citizens whether it is in South Africa, across the African continent or beyond.  With this in mind, a number of independently organized impact screenings of the film have taken place in Europe, including the UK.

The film has also garnered four awards to date.

  • Vaclav Havel Award, One World Film Festival, Prague, Czech Republic, 2014 – Best Film
  • Camera Justitia Award, Movies That Matter, The Hague, Holland, 2014 – Best Film
  • Aung San Suu Kyi Award, Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival, Myanmar, 2014 – Best Film
  • Special Choice Award, Encounters South African, International Documentary Film Festival, South Africa, 2014

For the full programme schedule and synopses of the films, please go to the AfriDocs website and Facebook page.

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Marikana Film Resonates Beyond Our Borders

“Rehad Desai’s beautifully filmed and uncompromising documentary, ‘Miners Shot Down’, is about so much more than the massacre by police of 34 striking workers at the Lonmin platinum mine at Marikana in August 2012. The film offers a unique prism through which to view contemporary power relations in ‘democratic’ South Africa (and perhaps globally) where the unholy trinity of capital, politics and security were (and are) pitted against labour…” MARIANNE THAMM, DAILY MAVERICK.

Miners Shot Down, the documentary that commentators have said every South African should see, is resonating deeply with international audiences. The film has been picked up by no less than seven international broadcast channels, including more recently Al Jazeera English and North America who will air the film from the 13th August onwards, just prior to the second anniversary of the massacre.

In the four short months since it was released, Miners Shot Down has been screened to large numbers of people at film festivals across the globe, in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Australasia and will be shown in a host of festivals over the coming months, including special 20 Years of Democracy screenings in Berlin and New York. Several festivals have given the film opening night status – One World, Prague, Sheffield Documentary Festival, UK and iRepresent in Lagos, Nigeria. The film has garnered four awards to date:

Vaclav Havel Award, One World Film Festival, Prague, Czech Republic, 2014 – Best Film

Camera Justitia Award, Movies That Matter, The Hague, Holland, 2014 – Best Film

Aung San Suu Kyi Award, Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival, Myanmar, 2014 – Best Film

Special Choice Award, Encounters South African, International Documentary Film Festival, South Africa, 2014

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As well as festival screenings, a number of independently organized impact screenings of the film have taken place in Europe, including the UK where, for example, the Islington branch of the National Union of Teachers passed a union resolution in support of the Marikana Justice Campaign after watching the film. There have been floods of requests for similar screenings to be organized in Brazil and other Latin American countries.

In July, the film will be shown at the Durban International Film festival, giving people in Durban another chance to see the film on the big screen. An initial week-long cinema release of the film at Ster Kinekor’s Cinema Nouveau was extended to a three week run in key cinemas, due to popular demand. The Bioscope Cinema in Johannesburg has also shown the film and will do so again in the run up to the 16th August, the second anniversary of the massacre.

In South Africa, in addition to a cinema release, over 140 impact screenings have taken place to date in universities, schools, community halls, mining towns, unions meetings and churches, reaching over 18,000 people in South Africa. Many of these were attended by the filmmaker or representative of the Marikana Justice Campaign, including mineworkers who took part in the 2012 strike and lawyers representing the families of the killed miners at the commission of inquiry.

Miners Shot Down is available to buy from Exclusives bookstores, as well as several independent bookshops and on kalahari.com. People are invited to buy the DVD and to organise small screenings in their homes, or workplaces.

Given the notable international reaction to the film, it is surprising that there has been no uptake of the film by free to air broadcasters in South Africa. There is no more efficient way to reach large audiences with a film that ‘every South African should see” than national television.

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Special Choice Award

Miners Shot Down is acknowledged for a Special Choice Award, as decided by the Encounters South African International Documentary Festival team. Encounters ran from the 5th to the 15th of June 2014 in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Over 400 documentaries from across the globe were reviewed and a programme of 21 international films and 24 South African and African films were screened, with numerous sell-out films and packed audiences across the line-up.

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Another Award for Miners Shot Down

Miners Shot Down has been announced as winner of the Aung San Suu Kyi Award at the Human Rights and Dignity Film Festival in Yangon, Myanmar.

“Miners Shot Down,” by the South African director Rehad Desai, offers a look into deadly anti-mining protests in his country in August 2012, and won the Aung San Suu Kyi Award in the International Film category.

Read more about the awards here.

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Miners Shot Down at the Durban International Film Festival

We are excited to announce that Miners Shot Down has been selected for the Durban International Film Festival!

Durban International Film Festival programme also features an expanded South African documentary programme in response to the large number of high quality doccies currently being produced in the country. DIFF 2014 includes a rich slate of films which explore and interrogate 20 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa, including Miners Shot Down.” See the film in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal 17-27 July 2014.

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Africa is a Country

Dudumalingani is a writer, filmmaker and photographer from the Zikhovane village in the former Transkei and now resides in Cape Town. He writes both fiction and non-fiction. Read this fantastic review of Miners Shot Down written by, Dudumalingani Mqombothi:

Magidiwana, a miner from Marikana in South Africa’s Northwest Province, traces his family lineage of miners at Lonmin Mines, he invokes in me memories of how I narrowly escaped becoming a miner, breaking the lineage from my father. I spent my early twenties in Sasolburg, a small coal-mining town in the Northern Free State, where the air is murky, the soil is black and the smell of chemicals hangs in the air. The dust from the coal and the firms coats everything and deposits itself underneath fingernails. From the mine compound, where my father stayed, the Sasolburg town hid behind a mountain of coal and coal processing machinery. The road to the town is squeezed between a mountain of coal and firms that process the coal to make candles, oil, and other things. When the Marikana strike began in 2012 and ultimately culminating into the events of 16 August 2012, my father and other miners in Sasolburg were not merely empathising with the miners there but they were and still are in the same shoes. They drill coal in the depths of the earth to only emerge hours later, unrecognizable from the dust of coal, to earn peanuts.

Miners Shot Down, the haunting documentary about the Marikana Massacre, has a horrifying stillness in its shots, the melancholic music seeps in and out of the narrative and it is because of these elements that it arrives at the viewer unhurried and sinks in. It shows police stalking the miners, trapping them in with barbed wire, provoking them with teargas and then gunning them down in cold blood.

“One thing was clear, I was dying but I was dying for nothing. I hadn’t even said goodbye to my family,” says Mzoxolo Magidiwana, strike leader at Marikana.

Overlaid over his interview is harrowing footage of him lying on the ground with his face down, on the threshold of death, after being gunned down by police. In the footage, he lifts his head up and stares at the heavily armed police officer that stands before him, not offering a hand to help him or the other men who were also gunned down. Another man in a red t-shirt, with a bloody mouth is violently turned over by police officers searching him. Minutes later his big body, riddled with bullets, wobbles, struggling to sit, life escaping him.

The fusillade from heavily armed police came to a halt when one policeman shouted, “Cease fire. Cease Fire. Cease Fire.” A voice of a policeman could be heard off screen make a callous statement to the miners, “I will shoot you.” When the dust settled, police stood in a line, holding their automatic weapons, taunting the miners lying on the ground and bleeding to death. None of the police officers bothered to call an ambulance, in fact, they did more than not call for it. They ordered the ambulance not to enter until after an hour of the shooting so that their path to being killers is not interfered with. In that hour police hunted other miners who ran up Small Koppie and shot them in cold blood.

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In Miners Shot Down, the narrative that miners were charging towards police with weapons is not only proved to be a piece of fiction but also to be a cover up of a police force that probably received an order from the upper echelons of the justice system days before the events of 16 August 2012 to end the strike in whatever means necessary. Death was a plausible option, illustrated by the booking of four mortuary vans to be on standby on that day.

Rehad Desai, the director, says his sense is that justice had not been done for the miners, as a commission of inquiry into the incident drags on. This is why he made the documentary. “I couldn’t ignore it, it was much too big, much too dramatic and upsetting for me,” he said. “I had to do something for these miners. I just felt that I had to give them a voice. If authority strikes in such a brutal fashion, artists have to pick a side and indicate which side they’re on.”

The documentary chronicles the 6 days before the Marikana Massacre and juxtaposed those 6 days with interviews of the miners, politicians and lawyers and snippets from the Farlam Commission of Inquiry sessions. The 6 days of protests at Marikana were not without deaths and violence. At the core of it all is the refusal by the Lonmin management to negotiate with the rock drillers’ demands of R12,500 per month. The strike was termed by Lonmin director and now South Africa’s Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa (in an email), as a criminal act when no violence had had happened yet.

The documentary is convincing in that there is strong visual evidence to tell the story of the massacre. The footage shot by the police and mine security and other documentary evidence that has emerged during the still ongoing Farlam commission of inquiry tells one narrative. The police intentionally shot 34 miners in cold blood.

The documentary also reveals the turf war between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the once unrivalled National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). During the strike in 2012, NUM fell out of favour with the miners and AMCU became their only hope.

This haunting and emotional documentary is evidence of what unfolded in Marikana, unlike news reports, where one depends on the interpretation of someone else, the viewer watches the harrowing events unfold in front of their very own eyes.

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