By Nathi Mntungwa

This August marks a decade since the massive slaughter of protesting mineworkers at Marikana.
On 16 August 2012 a tactical response unit of the South African police gunned down 34 miners who were on strike for a living wage. Observers, international and local media described the terrible event as the most brutal and lethal use of force by police in post-apartheid South Africa.
The massacre brought back painful memories of the brutality and cruelty of the apartheid regime.
Many of the miners, just like the Sharpeville Massacre, were shot in the back…some were shot from long range. Government’s finger-wringing and muddled up statements in response to the dastardly act, defied logic.
Reminiscent of apartheid subterfuge, the government blamed the miners for their own deaths.
Mine executives and officials at Lonmin, the police and the state avoided taking responsibility for the massacre.
They consumed huge spaces in the media in an attempt to portray the miners as violent hooligans who were all out to wreak havoc.
Their storyline abounded and predictably, sheathed bureaucrats, shareholders and politicians from accountability.
The obfuscation, which passed as “official and true” account, was incomplete. As others have opined, the Marikana Massacre is a national tragedy which must become one of the focal points of socio-economical and legal importance.
Creatives continue to fight to memorialise people’s truth and disseminate that history as widely and truthfully as possible.

Marikana – The Musical
The musical is written and directed by Aubrey Sekhabi, a multiple award-winning playwright and director.
Marikana – The Musical is an adaption of the book We Are Going to Kill Each Other Today: The Marikana Story by written by Thanduxolo Jika, Sebabatso Mosamo, Leon Sadiki, Athandiwe Saba, Lucas Ledwaba and Felix Dlangamandla.
The book takes a closer look at the lives of mineworkers, such as the late Mgcineni “Mambush” Noki and their families and the events leading up to the massacre.
Mambush became the face of the strike and was known as the “man in the green blanket” because of the blanket he was often photographed wearing.
After a four-year stage hiatus, the South African State Theatre (SAST) has reassembled renowned artists Meshack Mavuso-Magabane, Aubrey Poo, Siyasanga Papu, Emma Mmekwa and Mpho “Mckenzie” Matome to lead a 40-member cast and a 13-piece band in unleashing a blow-by-blow account of the events that led to the loss of 44 lives at the hands of the police.
Last seen on stage in 2017, Marikana – The Musical premiered in 2014 and garnered respect from audiences and critics alike. It won six Naledi Awards out of 18 nominations the following year.
It won awards, including Best Production of a Musical, Best Director (Aubrey Sekhabi), Best Performance in a Musical: Female (Emma Mmekwa), Best Set Design (Wilhelm Disbergen), Best Musical Score (Mckenzie Matome, Zakele Mabena and Aubrey Sekhabi), Best original and Choreography (Thabo Rapoo).
The musical returned on stage on 2 August and will run till 28 August at the South African State Theatre.
Tickets for the musical are available via Webtickets, at SAST and at Pick n Pay stores countrywide.

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