Marikana families hold cleansing ceremony

2013-06-17 09:31

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The families of people killed during illegal strikes at Lonmin’s platinum mine in Marikana will hold a cleansing ceremony today.

“The individual families will perform their respective traditional rituals in remembrance of those who passed away,” said Bojanala Platinum District Municipality spokesperson Archie Babeile.

On August 16, police shot dead 34 miners at Marikana. A further 10 people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed during the violent strike in the preceding week.

Xhosa, Zulu, Tshwana and Pedi cultural rituals would be conducted. Family members were travelling from as far as the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, and from neighbouring countries like Malawi, Swaziland and Lesotho.

Babeile said many of the rituals would involve the slaughtering of an animal and a variety of practices around this. These cultural ceremonies would be conducted on the koppie where the shooting happened.

“The exercise is to take away the bad luck.”

After the families had conducted their private rituals, religious leaders from different denominations would also hold a ceremony.

Mayor Louis Diremelo asked for the families to be allowed to conduct their ceremonies.

“Let’s peacefully allow space for families and relatives to perform what they believe will heal their scars and emotions created by this tragic incident.”

North West police spokesperson Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone reiterated calls to allow the ceremony to run peacefully.

“No weapons or liquor, including traditional beer, will be allowed, except that which will be used for the ritual.”

A commission of inquiry, headed by retired Judge Ian Farlam, is probing the circumstances of the deaths. Many mines in the Rustenburg area continued to experience unrest, mainly due to rivalry between trade unions the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union and the National Union of Mineworkers.

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