The Spirit of Marikana

The rise of insurgent trade unionism in South Africa
Author(s): ,
  • Publication Date: July 2016
  • Dimensions and Pages: 210 x 145 mm 288 pp Soft cover, 3 photographs, 1 map
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-002-2
  • PDF EAN: 978-1-77614-003-9
  • Rights: South Africa (exclusive) Rest of Africa excluding Zimbabwe (open market)
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): R350.00

Luke Sinwell and Siphiwe Mbatha open a window on the struggles of South African miners to overcome not only the opposition of the plutocratic mine owners, but also the opposition of the entrenched union establishment created in an earlier era of upheaval.
— Frances Fox Piven, political scientist and sociologist, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
The Spirit of Marikana highlights the crucial role of ordinary workers in changing history. A richly textured, path-breaking history of the labour
movement.
— Trevor Ngwane, South African socialist and anti-apartheid activist
On 16th August 2012, thirty-four black mineworkers were gunned down by the police under the auspices of South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) in what has become known as the Marikana massacre. This attempt to drown independent workingclass power in blood backfired and is now recognised as a turning point in the country’s history. The Spirit of Marikana tells the story of the uncelebrated leaders at the world’s three largest platinum mining companies who survived the barrage of state violence, intimidation, torture and murder which was being perpetrated during
this tumultuous period. What began as a discussion about wage increases between two workers in the changing rooms at one mine became a rallying cry for economic freedom and basic dignity. This gripping ethnographic account is the first comprehensive study of this movement, revealing how seemingly ordinary people became heroic figures who transformed their workplace and their country.

Glossary of South African Organisations
List of Acronyms
List of Leaders
Timeline of Key Events
1. Introduction
2. The Spark Underground
3. The 2012 Lonmin Strike, the Marikana Massacre and Emergence of
Left-Wing Forces
4. Amplats Carries the Torch
5. The Rise of AMCU and the Demise of Worker Committees
6. Insurgent Trade Unionism and the Great Strike of 2014
Appendices
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

Luke Sinwell is a Senior Researcher at the University of Johannesburg. He is co-author of Marikana: A View from the Mountain and a Case to Answer, co-editor of Contesting Transformation: Popular Resistance in Twenty-First-Century South Africa and the author of numerous articles on participatory democracy and contentious politics in South Africa. He is the General Secretary of the South African Sociological Association (SASA).
Siphiwe Mbatha is a co-ordinator of the Thembelihle Crisis Committee  (TCC), a socialist civic organisation in South Africa which fights for basic services for all. Siphiwe is also an assistant researcher at the University of Johannesburg. He first visited Marikana the day after the massacre to provide solidarity to the striking mineworkers.

Luke Sinwell and Siphiwe Mbatha open a window on the struggles of South African miners to overcome not only the opposition of the plutocratic mine owners, but also the opposition of the entrenched union establishment created in an earlier era of upheaval.
— Frances Fox Piven, political scientist and sociologist, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
The Spirit of Marikana highlights the crucial role of ordinary workers in changing history. A richly textured, path-breaking history of the labour
movement.
— Trevor Ngwane, South African socialist and anti-apartheid activist

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