Director Rehad Desai
Duration 86 mins
In August 2012, workers in 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-defence.
Miners Shot Down unfolds in real time over seven days, like a ticking time bomb. The film weaves together the central point-of-view of three strike leaders, Mambush, Tholakele and Mzoxolo, with compelling police footage, TV archive material and interviews with lawyers who represented the miners in the ensuing Commission of Inquiry into the massacre. What emerges is a tragedy that arises out of the deep fault lines in South Africa’s nascent democracy, of enduring poverty and a twenty-year unfulfilled promise of a better life for all.
A powerful and disturbing film, beautifully shot, sensitively told and featuring a haunting soundtrack, the film points to how far the African National Congress has strayed from its progressive liberationist roots and leaves audiences with an uncomfortable view of those that profit from minerals in the global South.