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Please note: this event has passed

*Please note this event has now been cancelled due to the speaker being on sick leave. We will announce a new date later in the academic year.*


This talk addresses questions of work, community, trauma, and social justice in the wake of the Marikana massacre in South Africa. It has been 10 years since the Marikana massacre which left at least 44 people dead, with 34 of them massacred on 16 August 2012, a further 78 injured and over 250 arrested using an arcane apartheid law. Workers were demanding a living wage R12 500.

These demands reverberated across the country and sparked debates about the working and living conditions of mineworkers, in particular fair remuneration, social justice in mining communities and equitable distribution of mineral revenues. The massacre highlighted the rupture of the post-apartheid social order and brought to the fore fissures in the social pact, which is characterised by continuities in the regimes of exploitation and inequality.

In this talk, Dr Asanda-Jonas Benya will unpack what has changed in the lives of mineworkers and the community since the 2012 massacre.

Much has changed since the massacre, yet a lot remains the same and worse for people working and living around Marikana. Some of the changes community members and workers pointed to are not easy to quantify; they are in the subtle, yet observable, details of their collective experiences. The empirical evidence gathered between 2012 and 2022 highlights discomforting continuities with the past, shattered dreams, neglect and palpable trauma. The community and workers are still reeling from the massacre and searching for justice, while alienation, super-exploitation and indignities marks their lives.

Recent retrenchments have added to already existing tensions and violence, and have led to unprecedented levels of mental health challenges which manifest in the rising local suicide rate. Women have been the ill-equipped navigators of this community trauma, “space holders” for the community and providers for food for households of retrenched workers, many on the brink of starvation. While the massacre marked a turning point politically for South Africa, for workers and the community the turn was downward and they continue to search for justice in this “post”-apartheid South Africa.


Speaker: Asanda-Jonas Benya

Dr Asanda-Jonas Benya is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

This event was part of the CPPR Lunchtime Seminar series.