Mine 'struggle' has its own soundtrack

2012-09-10 22:39

Marikana - They are the anthems hard-wired into the soul of every adult black South African: the haunting "struggle songs" that were the soundtrack to the decades-long fight against apartheid.

Now, a new breed of songs is being born of a wave of labour unrest that has swept across the platinum sector, culminating in the deaths of 44 people last month at Lonmin's Marikana mine.

But these latest chants are not directed at an old white-minority government.

Their targets are the African national Congress (ANC)and the management of the mines that account for 7% of Africa's biggest economy.

President Jacob Zuma, who faces an ANC leadership battle in December, is singled out for derision because of his ties to established unions such as the National Union of Mineworkers  (NUM), one target of the wildcat Marikana strikers.

"Zuma's stupidity is holding South Africa to ransom," runs one of the chants, repeated countless times in faultless harmony on Monday as several thousand striking miners marched 15km between Lonmin's shafts, ensuring a shutdown was complete.

There was similar disdain for the bosses of London-headquartered Lonmin, who the miners say are refusing to listen to their demands for a raise in basic pay to R12 500 a month, more than double their current salary.

"The management will agree to our demands, or they will shit themselves," goes another song.

As well as keeping up spirits under a blazing sky, the songs give rhythm to the panga-wielding marchers, allowing them to walk for hours seemingly without pause for breath.

However, the upbeat mood and camaraderie created by the singing obscures a rage that seethes beneath the surface, ready to boil over.

At one moment, a marching miner suddenly lashed out with a bullwhip at a man walking next to him. His victim immediately turned and ran - literally - for his life as a group of 50 panga-wielding men chase.

"We don't know who he is, but we think he had been working," one of the marchers said, as the songs suddenly ceased and switched to a baying for blood.

  • lacrimosewolf - 2012-09-10 22:51

    Pangas and bull-whips? What happened to freedom from oppression?

      MagdaKus - 2012-09-11 02:12

      When will we learn to solve our problems without violence? (not just in this case)

      tw2066 - 2012-09-11 06:32

      Thanks john for that lesson in democracy. Obviously the notion is lost on you. Any other pearls of wisdom you want to shed on democracy and freedom ..... (dont get me wrong either, I couldnt care if the ANC / COSATU supporters beat themselves to a pulp at this point)

      arno.botha.71 - 2012-09-11 08:06

      @john-This clearly no longer has anything to do with so called "living wage", whatever that is. this is a simple display of the psychology of crowd violence, where uneducated people (such as yourself) lose inhibition and their individual identity to the point where they can act out sadistically towards other people without feeling a sense of accountability for their actions. The type of people generally found to be susceptible to this social phenomena are people with lower than average education as well as people who are inherently violent. Also, just like you have the freedom to ask lonmin for an increase, so do your co-workers have the right not to participate. You are no better than the apartheid government who oppressed people with nightsticks when they refused to follow the curve, think about that before you make stupid statements.

      arno.botha.71 - 2012-09-11 10:10

      @John- I think it would help you understand the impact of these types of ideals if you read this article written by moeletsi mbeki:

  • isabel.ashe.7 - 2012-09-10 23:00

    Is this a strike... WHY THE PANGAS... They are just Dumb Ass....

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-10 23:29

    Time for the mine workers to show their maturity, time to show the world they mean business, without fear. Time to march without sharp weapons, it seems that this is all that is lacking for them to recieve the respect that they deserve. Put it to the test.

  • witwolf.digter - 2012-09-11 00:33

    oooohhhhh, oooohhhh, booo hoooooo struggle struggle. Where will i ever be without some struggle....

      tw2066 - 2012-09-11 06:34

      Revolution over evolution -

  • Sonnyjakes - 2012-09-11 07:01

    @ Then they must not complain if the cops chant "one bull-whip one bullet!"

  • kenny.bianco.7 - 2012-09-11 07:28

    A bunch of lawless marauders, why do they attack people on suspicion that they worked, Political parties are to blame, from ANC to DA, they allow this unlawfulness for their political point-scoring. Our country can't be spoilt by them and these miners who are mostly foreigners. All those who love this country, regardless of your political affiliation, let's condemn this madness

  • chris.potgieter.73 - 2012-09-11 07:30

    The bottom line is that the Luthuli House deployed cadre's will ensure that our country an Apocalypse of it's own. see:

      warren.rodel - 2012-09-11 10:13

      nice one

  • mike.mike.7140497 - 2012-09-11 07:36

    shoot the lot of them, then employ people who want to work - stop pussy footing around

  • neo.khemisi - 2012-09-11 07:46

    I don't see logical explaination for this article only helping those who against ANC led goverment gain moment and learn more insult song to president cos frankly I don't see Lonmin bosses giving a hoot about those ooh now I see suddenly news24 is mouth pis??????

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