This Thursday is elections day when we are told to fulfil our duty as citizens and participate in the wonderful process that is representative democracy to vote for politicians to rule over us for another few years.
This must have been what it felt like for the people of South Africa in 1994 when the ANC came to power. With Nelson Mandela as leader this was a government that promised so much: a fairer, more just society, prosperity for all, above all an end to the brutality and lies of apartheid.
In August 2012, a strike by mineworkers in one of South Africa’s largest platinum mines for higher wages was brutally crushed when police opened fire with live ammunition. The attack left 34 miners dead and many more seriously wounded.
Telling the story from the point of view of the miners, Miners Shot Down follows the strike from day one, unfolding in real time using compelling police footage, TV archive material and interviews with strike leaders and lawyers representing the miners. What emerges is clear evidence of collusion at the very top, glibly escalating state violence, and the country’s first post-apartheid massacre.
This powerful and disturbing film aptly demonstrates that no matter how good intentions are and no matter how noble principles may be, political power always leads to corruption and repression, in this case the combined forces of UK-owned mining company Lonmin, the ANC government and its allies in the National Union of Mineworkers.
Miners Shot Down is being shown on Thursday 22 May by Haringey Independent Cinema, a monthly film night based in Tottenham, at West Green Learning Centre, Park View School on West Green Road, London N15, at 7pm. £4 waged. £3 low or unwaged.