London and the Marikana Massacre: From the frontlines to the center of Extractive Imperialism
On August 16th 2012, 34 workers on strike for a living wage at Lonmin's platinum mine in Marikana were shot and killed by the South African police, the single most lethal use of force against civilians since the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960 under the apartheid regime. The London-based mining corporation, founded in 1909 as Lonrho under Cecil Rhodes's brutal occupation of Zimbabwe, is at the heart of this violent extraction of Africa's natural resources, urging the police to use force to suppress the resistance and demands for justice. Since the massacre, Lonmin has been complicit in a process of intimidation and cover-ups, culminating in attempts to sell the company to avoid accountability altogether.
With Lonmin's director at the time of the massacre Cyril Ramaphosa recently elevated to the South African presidency, and on the day of its Annual General Meeting in London, this event provides a platform for activists from the Marikana Solidarity Campaign to talk about their ongoing struggle for justice for the 34 workers who lost their lives, and for freedom and dignity. We will also seek to explore their struggle within the wider context of London's role as a centre of global mining finance and extractive imperialism.
Jo Seoka, Bishop of Pretoria (now retired) has supported the Marikana workers and was the last person to speak with Mambush Noki, ‘the man in the green blanket’, before his death.
Thumeka Magwangqana is from the Marikana women’s organisation Sikhala Sonke (“We cry together“), founded on the day of the massacre. Sikhala Sonke campaigns for better working and living conditions for mining-affected communities.
Andries Nkome is the attorney for 275 arrested and injured miners, and represents the sixteen mineworkers who still await trial for their actions during the strike.