Marikana back into business

By Drum Digital
24 September 2012

The small town of Marikana, a former farming turned mining town in South Africa's northwest, shot to fame last month when police opened fire Aug 16 on striking platinum mineworkers killing 34 and injuring scores of workers in the worst act of state violence since apartheid ended in 1994.

In the six-week period of unrest 46 people in total were killed, including two policemen.

The normally bustling town became quiet, with some shops shutting down and hawkers staying away to avoid being caught up in any possible clashes.

The weeks of strikes left miners without pay and cash loan businesses thrived.

When the miners went back to work on Thursday after a wage deal was reached with Lonmin PLC, the normal hustle and bustle returned to the main street which runs through Marikana.

Through the tragic events, the little known town shot to fame, both locally and internationally with international news agencies and TV stations reporting thoroughly on the unfolding events.

As Marikana regains its momentum, labor unrest is spreading to other platinum, gold and chrome mines in South Africa.

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