As deputy president (and former Lonmin director)Cyril Ramaphosa faces a grilling at the Marikana commission of inquiry today, a campaign to pressurise free-to-air television channels to screen a film on the mining massacre is gaining momentum.
An independent social justice organisation that uses cellphones as a tool for building democracy has launched a campaign to pressurise the SABC and e.tv to screen a documentary on the murder of miners at Marikana, Miners Shot Down.
The organisation, with the backing of the civil society broadcasting NGO, SOS Coalition, has asked for South Africans to support the campaign by signing a petition ahead of 15 August when they plan to approach the channels concerned.
In a letter to CEO of e.tv, Marcel Golding, the chair of the SABC board, Ellen Zandile Tshabalala, and the acting CEO of the SABC, Tian Olivier, amandla.mobi says the channels “have a duty to screen content in the public interest”.
“What happened in Marikana was South Africa’s first post-Apartheid massacre and you have a responsibility to ensure the stories of Marikana miners are told,” the petition says. “On the 16 August, South Africans will gather on the anniversary of this national tragedy. We the undersigned demand that you schedule a screening of Miners Shot Down so that all South Africans have the opportunity to reflect on the lives lost, families impacted and together we as a nation can work to ensure this never happens again.”
The film, directed by Rehad Desai, has been shown on DStv and Al Jazeera. Critic Marianne Thamm, writing for the Daily Maverick in a review titled ‘The Film Every South African Should See’, said it is an “an intimate, claustrophobic and deeply moving film using footage taken at the scene over the course of the strike and interwoven with SAPS and Lonmin security videos”.
Thamm questions why every South African did not take to the streets after the massacre, and says the fact they did not is “testimony the effectiveness of the state media and the ruling party’s ability to dazzle voters with singing, dancing, rhetoric and big promises”.