Remember Marikana

Two events  I attended in London marked the 5th anniversary of the massacre of 34 striking miners by South African police at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine, and both were attended by a group of campaigners from the Marikana women’s organisation Sikhala Sonke (We Cry Together) as well as supporters from London.

The first was at lunchtime, when the Marikana Support Campaign and others protested outside Lonmin‘s Mayfair offices. It took me some time to find, as the event map and address which I’d read on Facebook had put the event around a quarter of a mile away on another street. I did come across some protesters wandering in search of it, and we walked around a little looking for it. Fortunately when I was beginning to feel it was time to give up (it was a hot day and a rest in a pub seemed tempting) someone going past recognised me and told me where he thought it was happening.

Obviously some people had got more accurate information and the protest was already in full swing when I arrived, on the pavement opposite an office block in which Lonmin had an office in an upper floor. I followed Charlie X, who protests here and in South Africa in mime as a Chaplin look-alike, when he went across the road to the offices, and found the reflections in the door were preventing me from reading the list of companies on the wall behind. Charlie-X held it open for me, but unfortunately I still couldn’t read the list clearly on my picture as in the dim light I didn’t stop down enough to get sufficient depth of field to keep it sharp.  But I did get an image I thought image when the receptionist came out to pull the door closed.

Later I went into the offices with a small group of protesters who wanted to take a letter in to Lonmin. Againt they were stopped by the receptionist, who after some discussion took the letter and promised she would deliver it to them.

That evening there was a vigil outside South Africa House in Trafalgar Square organised by the the Pan-Afrikan Society Community Forum (PACSF) and Marikana Miners Solidarity Campaign. Security there were worried about the protest and called the police, as well as insisting that the protesters removed their posters and banners from the wall in front of the building.

There the protesters as well as the posters showing the victims of the massacre also had some large sunflowers which made for some nice images. The event was rather slow to start as the women from Marikana were delayed by an interview at the BBC and I was sorry that I had to leave before it was over.

Justice for Marikana vigil
Marikana Massacre Protest at Lonmin HQ


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