Marikana - A People's History (Paperback)


On 16 August 2012, the South African police shot dead thirty-four men and injured hundreds more, bringing to an end a week-long strike at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana. None of the murdered people posed a threat to any police officer. Existing studies of this nation-shaping and internationally significant event have often overlooked the experiences and perspectives of the striking miners themselves. Now, for the first time, the men’s lives – and deaths – are put at the centre of the story.

Placing the strike in the context of South Africa’s long history of racial and economic exclusion, explaining how the miners came to be in Marikana, how their lives were ordinarily lived and the substance of their complaints, Julian Brown shows how the strike developed from an initial gathering into a mass movement of more than 3,000 workers. Drawing on interviews with strikers and their families, he tells the stories of those who embarked on the strike, those who were killed, and the attempts of the families of the deceased to identify and bury their dead.

Brown also provides a comprehensive review of the subsequent Commission of Inquiry and points to the politics of solidarity with the Marikana miners that have emerged since.


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On 16 August 2012, the South African police shot dead thirty-four men and injured hundreds more, bringing to an end a week-long strike at the Lonmin platinum mine in Marikana. None of the murdered people posed a threat to any police officer. Existing studies of this nation-shaping and internationally significant event have often overlooked the experiences and perspectives of the striking miners themselves. Now, for the first time, the men’s lives – and deaths – are put at the centre of the story.

Placing the strike in the context of South Africa’s long history of racial and economic exclusion, explaining how the miners came to be in Marikana, how their lives were ordinarily lived and the substance of their complaints, Julian Brown shows how the strike developed from an initial gathering into a mass movement of more than 3,000 workers. Drawing on interviews with strikers and their families, he tells the stories of those who embarked on the strike, those who were killed, and the attempts of the families of the deceased to identify and bury their dead.

Brown also provides a comprehensive review of the subsequent Commission of Inquiry and points to the politics of solidarity with the Marikana miners that have emerged since.

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