The Marikana massacre on 16 August 2012 was the most lethal use of force by South African security forces against civilians since 1960, and has indeed been compared to Sharpeville massacre in 1960.
The incident, which took place on the 25-year anniversary of a nationwide South African miners' strike, started as a wildcat strike at Lonmin in the Marikana area and garnered international attention when it came to light that 34 miners were shot dead on that fateful day.
This week, as we commemorated the tragic events of 2012, we were again reminded of how easily a toxic mix of highly emotive issues, reckless leadership and poor decision-making can explode and leave over 30 people dead. Their families without breadwinners, wives without husbands and children without fathers.
Will we learn from it? Most probably not. The 1922 Rand Revolt, where more than 200 mine workers lost their lives, could not prevent Marikana.
Let’s try and learn from these events, especially when the dark clouds around highly emotive issues are once again building up around us.
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