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Oris Aigbokhaevbolo
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Oris Aigbokhaevbolo (Africiné)

Rehad Desai, Filmmaker

Mambush talking to police hostage negotiator

Police deployed to Marikana before massacre

Striking mine workers peacefully leaving the koppie moments, before the police started shooting

Striking mine workers on koppie before massacre

Striking mine workers marching on Lonmin to request negotiations

Striking mine workers in Marikana high street

Razor wire being brought to the koppie

Police looking at striking mine workers on the koppie

Africiné, the World Leader (African & Diaspora Films)

Miners Shot Down, directed by Rehad Desai
Cry, the Unbeloved Country!

In August, 2012, the world was shocked into grief when over 30 miners in Marikana, South Africa were shot dead for protesting poor wages and requesting better welfare. It brought back memories of Sharpville in 1966. And the camera, an instrument able to witness both the cool and the cruel, never judging, was at hand to capture the act as well as chronicle events leading up to the massacre: a brutal killing, which by the evening of August 16, 2012, had 34 miners lying dead, in undignified poses.

Miners Shot Down from Africiné on Vimeo.

One moment, the miners, sensing they are being boxed in, move; the next, they scamper as several rounds of ammunition ring out, the unlucky men finally dotting the landscape like unbecoming outgrowths. How did this happen? Who was to blame?

The blame, according to Rehad Desai's powerfully-moving documentary Miners Shot Down, is both on a skewed system and on different persons at various points in the power structure.

The filmmakers point out these persons: General Mpembe, who ordered the shootings; executives at Lonmin, the mining company; the heads of police, one of whom is shown after the massacre commending her officers for protecting the safety of the country; and, perhaps more pointedly, politicians, one of whom, Cyril Ramaphosa, was Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC) and a former leader of the National Union of Mineworkers.

That, however, was a long time ago and since then, Mr Ramaphosa has become a shareholder in Lonmin. It is either a surfeit of self-inflicted innocence or a startling show of remorselessness that sees Mr Ramaphosa as the only one of the tacitly-accused to agree to an interview. And this, even as a document, shows an agitated Ramaphosa pressing the police to end the standoff with the miners decisively.

As if to show the world the difference between the man then and now, flashback scenes show the younger Ramaphosa holding a microphone to a speaking Mandela. At the end, we see Ramaphosa grinning with Jacob Zuma. The moral space occupied by his two companions are largely different-if that space contained oxygen, Zuma would collapse from asphyxiation. In short, Ramaphosa has journeyed considerably.

The film's coda shows 3 miners and Mr Ramaphosa. The difference in narratives are stark: One miner is facing charges of murder, another is permanently disabled and facing murder charges as well, the last is dead, body riddled with 14 bullets. He was the group's spokesperson. Mr Ramaphosa has now been elected deputy president of the ANC.

No arrest of a police officer has been made, even as footage showing chicanery over a dead body is extant. The striking miners received a 7-22% increase.

"A Black man's life is cheap. They will kill us and replace us…" the leader of the AMCU said, pleading for the striking miners to return home just before the killings. He was both observant and prescient.

Ronnie Kasrils, the former anti-apartheid crusader indicts both the finger pulling the trigger as well as those pulling the strings on the dead miners. As he speaks, there is something uncertain about the quality of his voice: it either quavers in rage, or trembles in grief. Or both.

Rage. Grief. The dead are dead. And rage and grief are all that is left.

There is nothing else.

by Oris Aigbokhaevbolo

Paper first published in The Irep Report - 2014 iREP Newsletter, reprint courtesy of Goethe Institut Lagos & Irep.

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   liens films

Miners Shot Down 2014
Rehad Desai

   liens artistes

Desai Rehad

Khanna Anita

Tilley Brian


19/07/2013 > 22/07/2013
marché |Afrique du Sud |
Durban FilmMart 2013
4ème édition

20/03/2014 > 23/03/2014
festival |Nigeria |
iREP international Documentary Film Festival 2014
4ème édition. Thème : "Africa in Self-Conversation" ("L'Afrique s'entretient avec elle-même).

07/05/2014 > 25/05/2014
festival |États-Unis |
New York African Film Festival (Nyaff) 2014
21ème édition. "Revolution and Liberation in the Digital Age".

projection |Namibie |
„African Perspectives": AfricAvenir presents (for the third time)" Miners Shot Down
At 18h30. @FNCC. Entrance is 20,- Nam$. With Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre and Africiné. A film directed by Rehad Desai & Anita Khanna, South Africa, 2014, feature.

17/07/2014 > 27/07/2014
festival |Afrique du Sud |
Festival international du Film de Durban (DIFF) 2014
35ème édition

21/08/2014 > 24/08/2014
festival |Suisse |
Festival cinémas d'Afrique - Lausanne 2014
9e édition

26/09/2014 > 06/10/2014
festival |Afrique du Sud |
Tri Continental Human Rights Film Festival 2014
Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town

31/10/2014 > 09/11/2014
festival |Royaume-Uni |
Film Africa 2014
4ème édition. 10 days of more than fifty of the best African fiction and documentary films from across the continent, With lively Q&As and panel discussions featuring leading African filmmakers, and a dynamic programme of 
cultural events.

07/11/2014 > 14/11/2014
festival |France |
Festival des cinémas d'Afrique du pays d'Apt 2014
12e édition.

16/01/2015 > 25/01/2015
festival |Suisse |
Festival Black Movie 2015
16ème édition. Geneva International Independent Film Festival.

28/02/2015 > 07/03/2015
festival |Burkina Faso |
FESPACO 2015 (Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la télévision de Ouagadougou)
24e édition. Thème : Cinéma africain : production et diffusion à l'ère du numérique''.

16/03/2015 > 22/03/2015
festival |Égypte |
Luxor African Film Festival - LAFF 2015
4ème édition

07/05/2015 > 17/05/2015
festival |Allemagne |
DOK.fest München 2015
30ème édition. Africa: Africa-Day (jeudi 14 mai, 11:00), Museum Fünf Kontinente, à Munich

16/07/2015 > 26/07/2015
festival |Afrique du Sud |
Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) 2015
36ème édition

18/07/2015 > 25/07/2015
festival |Cameroun |
Ecrans Noirs 2015
19ème édition. Thème : "Numérique et exigence de formation". YAOUNDÉ, DOUALA

18/07/2015 > 26/07/2015
festival |Tanzanie |
Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) 2015
18ème édition

06/10/2015 > 10/10/2015
festival |Île Maurice |
Ile Courts-Festival International du Court Métrage de Maurice 2015
8ème édition. Festival organisé par l'Association Porteurs d'Images. PARRAIN DU FESTIVAL : le réalisateur nigérian Newton I. Aduaka

20/11/2015 > 29/11/2015
festival |France |
Ciné Regards Africains 2015 - 9e édition

19/08/2016 > 27/08/2016
festival |France |
Gouel ar Filmoù / Festival de Cinéma de Douarnenez 2016
39ème édition. Festival culturel, festif et militant. Thème : Peuples de Turquie.

   liens structures

Allemagne | Frankfurt am Main

German Films
Allemagne | Munich

Goethe-Institut Lagos (Centre Culturel Allemand, Nigeria)
Nigeria | Lagos

NFVF - National Film and Video Foundation

Uhuru Productions
Afrique du Sud | Cape Town

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Born into Struggle
film intégral



Miners Shot Down
bande annonce



Born into Struggle - TRAILER - Director: Rehad Desai
bande annonce


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