Widows’ art stir up emotion

2015-08-12 06:00
A SERIES of some of the paintings by the widows of Marikana telling the story of the Marikana massacre. 

Photos supplied

A SERIES of some of the paintings by the widows of Marikana telling the story of the Marikana massacre. Photos supplied

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“WE also want Nkandla in our homes.”

This is a bold statement on one of the artworks painted by the widows of Marikana.

A collection of these works was created in an attempt to give the widows of Marikana a voice after the senseless killing of 34 mine workers at Marikana in the North-West on 16 August 2012.

The paintings are themed Speaking Wounds: Voices of Marikana Widows through art and narrative.

The widows’ paintings tell the stories of their journey and grief after the murder of their spouses.

The killings occurred when the South African Police Service (SAPS) opened fire on a crowd of striking mine workers at Marikana.

The fateful event left 34 mine workers dead and 78 wounded. More than 250 people were arrested.

The protesting mine workers were demanding a wage increase at the Lonmin Platinum Mine.

The collection of artworks was showcased at the University of the Free State (UFS) campus in Bloemfontein recently.

Dr Majorie Jobson, national director of the Khulumani Support Group, said the organisation had introduced the widows to the transformative power of art and storytelling.

This was the last instalment of the vice chancellor’s lecture series on trauma, memory and representations of the past for this year.

Jobson said the families of those slain in the massacre that had astounded the country had not been given an opportunity to participate in the Farlam Commission dialogue.

“The Farlam Commission failed the widows.

“The question is: Who gave the call for the mine workers to be shot?” Jobson said.

Nomarussia Walaza, national organiser of the Khulumani Support Group, said the pricing of the impressive group of artwork was yet to be finalised.

He said the reason for this was that some of the paintings were group efforts.

According to Walaza, the intention was to sell the art exhibition, consisting of painted body maps created by the widows, to support the widows financially.

Agnes Thelejane is one of the contributors of the collective paintings.

The aggrieved woman said things had been hard since she had lost her husband, Johannes Thelejane (56).

“I am struggling to heal, because his death is clouded in lies from those who took his life,” she said.

Thelejane said to her the murder of her husband was a gaping wound that refused to heal


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