On 16th August 2012, thirty-four black mineworkers were gunned down by the police under the auspices of South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) in what has become known as the Marikana massacre. This attempt to drown independent working-class power in blood backfired and is now recognised as a turning point in the country's history.
The Spirit of Marikana tells the story of the uncelebrated leaders at the world's three largest platinum mining companies who survived the barrage of state violence, intimidation, torture and murder which was being perpetrated during this tumultuous period. What began as a discussion about wage increases between two workers in the changing rooms at one mine became a rallying cry for economic freedom and basic dignity.
This gripping ethnographic account is the first comprehensive study of this movement, revealing how seemingly ordinary people became heroic figures who transformed their workplace and their country.
Luke Sinwell is a Senior Researcher at the University of Johannesburg. He is co-author of The Spirit of Marikana (Pluto, 2016) and Marikana: A View from the Mountain and a Case to Answer (Jacana, 2013), co-editor of Contesting Transformation: Popular Resistance in Twenty-First-Century South Africa (Pluto, 2014). He is the General Secretary of the South African Sociological Association (SASA). Siphiwe Mbatha is a co-ordinator of the Thembelihle Crisis Committee (TCC), a socialist civic organisation in South Africa which fights for basic services for all. Siphiwe is also an assistant researcher at the University of Johannesburg. He first visited Marikana the day after the massacre to provide solidarity to the striking mineworkers.
Glossary of South African Organisations List of Acronyms List of Leaders Timeline of Key Events 1. Introduction 2. The Spark Underground 3. The 2012 Lonmin Strike, the Marikana Massacre and Emergence of Left-Wing Forces 4. Amplats Carries the Torch 5. The Rise of AMCU and the Demise of Worker Committees 6. Insurgent Trade Unionism and the Great Strike of 2014 Appendices Notes Selected Bibliography Index