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Rehad Desai’s ‘Miners Shot Down’ to be aired on Al Jazeera

Rehad Desai’s ‘Miners Shot Down’ to be aired on Al Jazeera

Rehad Desai’s award-winning and hard-hitting documentary, ‘Miners Shot Down’, premieres on 13 August 2014 at 22:00hrs Central African Time (CAT) on Witness, Al Jazeera’s documentary segment, and will screen daily until 16 August 2014, coinciding with the two-year anniversary of the now-called Marikana Massacre which it explores.

Miners Shot Down goes beyond the massacre of 34 striking miners (and the injuring of many more) by the members of the South African Police Services (SAPS) at the Lonmin Platinum Mine, one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines, after a six-day wildcat strike for better wages. The police insisted that they opened fire in self-defence, but Miners Shot Down tells a different story.

Using the point of view of the Marikana miners, Miners Shot Down follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low-paid workers against the combined forces of the mining company, the ANC government and their allies in the National Union of Mineworkers. What emerges is collusion at the top, spiralling violence and the country’s first post-apartheid massacre.

Recently, Miners Shot Down has become a festival favourite, opening leading international documentary festivals like One World and Sheffield, and winning Best Film at One World in Prague; Movies That Matter in The Hague; and The Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival in Myanmar.

In South Africa, it won the Special Choice Award at Encounters South African International Documentary Festival in June and both the Best South African Documentary and Amnesty International Human Rights Awards at Durban International Film Festival in July 2014.

The Durban jury said, “Miners Shot Down emerged as the overall winner of the award for its profoundly moving portrayal of the Marikana miners’ massacre. The human rights abuses so vividly portrayed include the right to life, the right to justice, the right to protection by the police, the right to know, the right to peaceful protest and the right to human dignity. This film is particularly important in South Africa at the present time, given the Farlam Judicial Commission currently investigating the tragedy.”

The Daily Maverick’s Marianne Thamm wrote; “Rehad Desai’s beautifully filmed and uncompromising documentary, ‘Miners Shot Down’, is about so much more than the massacre by police of 34 striking workers at the Lonmin platinum mine at Marikana in August 2012. The film offers a unique prism through which to view contemporary power relations in ‘democratic’ South Africa (and perhaps globally) where the unholy trinity of capital, politics and security were (and are) pitted against labour - poorly-paid, badly educated and exploited workers. The film also shows that the miners had been so shockingly “othered” that killing them was not beyond the imagination or capacity of those in power and authority.”


A campaign has been launched to get the documentary aired on free-to-air TV. Currently, only those on DStv will see the documentary soon. Social justice organisation, Amandla.mobi, want to make the documentary accessible to South Africans who watch SABC 1, 2 and 3 and e.tv and want it aired on 16 August.

You can sign the Miners Shot Down petition on Amandla.mobi; those without smartphones can get involved through dialling the code *120*4729# and those with feature phones can engage with the campaign on Mxit.

Screening times

If you wish to watch Miners Shot Down on Al Jazeera’s Witness, tune in on 13 Aug 22.00 CAT; 14 Aug 14.00 CAT; 15 Aug 03.00 CAT; 16 Aug 08.00 CAT.

For more information, visit www.aljazeera.com/programmes/witness.

Miners Shot Down is on YouTube here.