On August 16, 2012, a miner’s strike at a platinum mine near Marikana in South Africa resulted in the deaths of 34 people. It was the most lethal use of force by South African police since the infamous Sharpville massacre in 1960.
The irony is that in 1960, South Africa was governed by a white-only government, which ruled the land with draconian apartheid laws.
The Marikana massacre, on the other hand, was committed under a democratically elected African National Congress government. The question on everyone’s mind was, how could something like this happen after the fall of apartheid?
It brought into focus the enormous challenges that South Africa faces. Poverty and inequality are rampant, as are goverment corruption and violent crime. It is up to to the people of South Africa to decide what their future holds.
The Cape Times decided to highlight this, trying to put a positive spin on a tragic episode in South African history. And so a timeline was created using the actual Cape Times front pages, showing the Sharpville massacre in 1960, the Marikana massacre in 2012, and a blank front page on a hypothetical future date.
The idea was to put these events into perspective and ask South Africans to think about what kind of future lies ahead for their country. Readers responded quite positively. We helped create a conversation around trying to find a positive solution to these problems.
This is a big issue, affecting many people. It’s not going to be solved in a hurry, but at least we have contributed to finding a positive solution and have kept the debate top of mind among our readership.
All South Africans have an opportunity to write the future. Isn’t it time we wrote a happy ending?