Public Series & Schools

Marikana : The danger of memorial without memory

The 16th of August 2022 marked ten years since the Marikana Massacre. In 2015 students at universities all over South Africa “commemorated” the deaths of 34 miners and 2 security personnel and 2 police men during a labour dispute strike in Marikana in the North West province of South Africa. Since the incident – an incident which is often referred to as the “historical break” between the interests of the government and the working class – the historical of the trajectory of the liberated South Africa has changed. Marikana leaves us with many political questions to grapple with within political organisations. 

For Tshisimani it was not enough to “commemorate” the massacre of Marikana but rather to question it as a historical moment so that it may make sense of it for the future of the country. Through our engagements with the What is Democracy cohort – a group of young activists who meet monthly to discuss the relevance of democracy today – we realised that there is a generation of young people who do not know what Marikana is – what the event meant, how it unfolded and what it means for the political realities we find ourselves in. 

The program included an afternoon workshop, a public seminar with Meshack (MACUA), Advocate Tembeka Ngucaitobi and Nomzamo Zondo (SERI); a book launch of Julian Brown’s Marikana:a people’s history and an evening of song and performance reflecting on Marikana.

Tshsisimani hosted a 2-day educational program “commemorating” the Marikana Massacre with youth activists for whom the massacre is a distant-memory and event.

Lessons from the Program