Exactly 100 years ago, the streets of Joburg were transformed into a war zone as commandos of striking white miners took on government forces. But what caused the Rand Revolt of 1922? Why did planes drop bombs on Benoni? And how did the workers' uprising change 20th century South Africa? Nick Dall draws on his research for Spoilt Ballots: The Elections that Shaped SA, from Shaka to Cyril to answer these questions.
At 04:45 on Friday, 10 March 1922 – a day that would later be referred to as Black Friday – the Newlands Commando of striking white mineworkers launched an attack on their local police station. The force of 45 to 50 police officers, who'd barricaded themselves behind sandbags in anticipation of trouble, was no match for the hordes of advancing strikers.
As Norman Herd writes: