Marikana – Loud music echoed from a giant stage erected at the Marikana koppie in the Nkaneng informal settlement near Rustenburg on Monday, as preparations for the fourth commemorations of the Marikana tragedy were being finalised.
A few metres away, community members sang along to the loud music as they went on their daily chores in the shacks making up the Nkaneng informal settlement. Maritha Mabasa said in August 2012, she had recently moved to Marikana, from the Free State, when the wage dispute degenerated into chaos.
“What happened there remains vivid in my mind. Who would forget the murder of more than 30 people in one day? And my heart is sore,” said the mother of three, pointing at the koppie.
At the nearby shopping centre, hawker Thirani Mvundla said he would close his small business on Tuesday and join the commemorations.
“It is critical for us, the residents of Marikana to gather once every year, at least, and take stock. These mineworkers who died were not only fighting for their families, they were demanding better wages for everyone,” said Mvundla who has since left his job in the mines.
Mabasa and Mvundla are some of the Marikana residents set to converge at the small rocky mountains on Tuesday morning to pay respects to the fallen miners.
The area remains largely underdeveloped, with taxis moving along dirt roads passing through Nkaneng, packed with commuters. The number of shacks has increased as more people seek greener pastures in the sleepy mining town.
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