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Miners Shot Down
Genre Documentary
 
Review:

Miners Shot Down is a hard-hitting documentary about the Marikana massacre from the perspective of the low-paid striking mineworkers. In August 2012, mineworkers from one of South Africa's biggest platinum mines, began a strike for a substantial wage increase. After six days, police used live ammunition in order to put an end to the strike, killing 34 and injuring many in South Africa's first post-Apartheid massacre.

When the shocking event took place, it made world headlines with the massacre footage getting extended news coverage. While empathetic towards the striking mineworkers, the story was interpreted as self-defence or a triggered mistake on the part of the police. However, Miners Shot Down scratches the surface to reveal there were many more factors that contributed to this deadly encounter.

Renowned documentary filmmaker, Rehad Desai, tackles this controversial event head-on. Using police footage, news reports, commission findings, testimonials and witness accounts, he constructs a chronological order of events leading up to the massacre. From Day 1, Desai uncovers what motivated the strikers to gather in numbers and what mitigating factors led to their clash with police on Day 6.

We are given a detailed back story from various players including: mineworkers, ANC politicians, Lonmin executives, NUM representatives and police officers. Desai builds a case for the mineworkers by identifying key turning points and entering evidence that strongly suggests there was collusion between Lonmin, the government and the National Union of Mineworkers.

Rehad Desai is fearless in his investigation and quest for justice. While many key figures declined to be interviewed, he still manages to compose a layered documentary with footage that is disturbing, research that is alarming and insinuations that are damning.

Miners Shot Down is a passionate South African documentary that serves as a tribute to the fallen victims, a wonderful advert for freedom of expression and a call to action to root out corruption at the highest level.

While it would have been interesting for the filmmakers to delve deeper into South Africa's strike culture, Miners Shot Down is focused and presents a fascinating, harrowing and devastating examination of exploitation, rebellion and suppression in South Africa.

Hopefully Miners Shot Down will inspire renewed interest in the Marikana massacre, cast the spotlight on key figures, motivate others to blow the whistle on corruption and serve as a reminder that the truth will always rise to the surface.

The bottom line: Hard-hitting

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