South Africa: Politics, Power and Platinum

Talk Thursday 16 July 2015, 7:00 PM

On 16 August 2012, South African police opened fire on a large crowd of men who were on strike from the Marikana platinum mine. The police action resulted in 112 people being shot and 34 killed.

Nearly three years on from the massacre and as the Marikana Commission are due to publish their inquiry into what happened, we will be holding a special two-part event to explore politics, power and platinum in South Africa.

For the first part of the evening, photographer Jason Larkin and writer Jack Shenker will present Platinum. The publication examines the Marikana massacre and the physical and political context of the communities involved in South Africa’s platinum mining industry. Combining large-format posters and a wide-ranging and incisive essay in English and Xhosa, the publication breaks with traditional formats and brings new perspectives to an important and little-understood history.

The second part of the evening will see a panel of experts reflect on the events in Marikana and their consequences in South Africa, as well as what the report reveals about who should be held accountable.

Chaired by Richard Dowden, director of the Royal African Society and journalist with 30 years of experience covering Africa for various publications including The Independent, The Times and The Economist. He is author of Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles.

The panel:

Andrew Feinstein is a writer, campaigner and former ANC Member of Parliament. He is author of After the Party: A Personal and Political Journey Inside the ANC and The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade.

Dr Desné Masie is an analyst of geopolitical economy and the client manager for southern Africa at Africa Matters Limited. She was the corporate relationship manager of the Royal African Society and a senior editor at the Financial Mail in Johannesburg.

James Nichol is a criminal lawyer representing the families of those who were killed by police during the Marikana strike. Previously he worked closely on Bridgewater, Wallace and Rowe with investigative journalists Paul Foot and Margaret Renn. He helped represent Arthur Scargill and miners in the 1984-85 strike and had clients in the Bloody Sunday inquiry.

Jack Shenker is a journalist and author based in London and Cairo. Formerly Egypt correspondent for The Guardian, his work has also covered Gaza, Central Asia, Southern Africa, the US, the UK and the Indian subcontinent, and been published in a wide range of newspapers and magazines around the world.

Platinum is supported by the Pulitzer Centre and Rosa Luxembourg Stiftung.


Photo: Jason Larkin. EFF supporters listening to leader Julius Malema, Freedom Park.