Miners Shot Down premieres on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 at 22h00CAT on Witness, Al Jazeera’s flagship documentary strand. The multi-award-winning documentary will screen daily until 16 August 2014, the two-year anniversary of the Marikana massacre it investigates.
In August 2012, mineworkers in Lonmin, one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines, began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days into the strike, the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. The police insisted that they shot in self-defense, but Miners Shot Down tells a different story.
Using the point of view of the Marikana miners, Miners Show Down follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low-paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers. What emerges is collusion at the top, spiraling violence and the country’s first post-apartheid massacre.
The documentary has been a festival favourite, opening leading international documentary festivals like One World and Sheffield, and winning Best Film at One World in Prague; Movies That Matter in The Hague; and The Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival in Myanmar.
In South Africa, it’s won awards from the two leading festivals for documentaries, scooping the Special Choice Award at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival in June and both the Best South African Documentary and Amnesty International Human Rights Awards at Durban International Film Festival in July 2014.
The Durban jury said, “Miners Shot Down emerged as the overall winner of the award for its profoundly moving portrayal of the Marikana miners’ massacre. The human rights abuses so vividly portrayed include the right to life, the right to justice, the right to protection by the police, the right to know, the right to peaceful protest and the right to human dignity. This film is particularly important in South Africa at the present time, given the Farlam Judicial Commission currently investigating the tragedy.”
The ongoing Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the massacre began in October 2012 and recently had its deadline extended again until 30 September 2014.
Screening times: 13 Aug 22.00 CAT| 14 Aug 14.00 CAT | 15 Aug 03.00 CAT | 16 Aug 08.00 CAT
What people are saying:
“Rehad Desai’s beautifully filmed and uncompromising documentary, Miners Shot Down, is about so much more than the massacre by police of 34 striking workers at the Lonmin platinum mine at Marikana in August 2012. The film offers a unique prism through which to view contemporary power relations in ‘democratic’ South Africa (and perhaps globally) where the unholy trinity of capital, politics and security were (and are) pitted against labour…” Marianne Thamm, Daily Maverick
“Literally left me speechless… The world looked different when I emerged from the cinema. It doesn’t often happen to me.” Charl Blignaut, CityPress
“Important, comprehensive and damning… Essential viewing.” Encounters South African Documentary Festival
For more information, visit aljazeera.com/programmes/witness.
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