In August 2012, mine workers in one of South Africa's biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days into the strike, the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress it, killing 34 and injuring many more. The police insisted that they shot in self-defense. MINERS SHOT DOWN tells a different story, one that unfolds in real time over seven days, like a ticking time bomb.
The film weaves together the central point of view of three strike leaders, Mambush, Tholakele and Mzoxolo, with compelling police footage, TV archive and interviews with lawyers representing the miners in the ensuing commission of inquiry into the massacre. What emerges is a tragedy that arises out of the deep fault lines in South Africa's nascent democracy, of enduring poverty and a 20-year-old, unfulfilled promise of a better life for all.
A campaigning film, beautifully shot, sensitively told and accompanied by a haunting soundtrack, MINERS SHOT DOWN reveals how far the African National Congress has strayed from its progressive liberationist roots.
"MINERS SHOT DOWN will come to be seen as one of the most important physical remembrances, not only of the lives of the men who were killed, but also of a shameful and cowardly chapter of our recent history." —The Daily MaverickWinner, 2015 Panafrican Film and TV Festival (FESPACO) Jury Prize
Winner, 2015 Cinema for Peace Award for Justice
Winner, Vaclav Havel Jury Award, 2014 One World Human RIghts Film Festival
Winner, Camera Justitia Award, 2014 Movies that Matter Human RIghts Film Festival
Winner, Special Choice Award, 2014 Encounters International Documentary Festival
Winner, Aung San Suu Kyi Award, 2014 Myanmar Human RIghts Film Festival
Winner, Best South African Documentary and Amnesty International Human Rights Award, 2014 Durban International Film Festival
Winner, Best Reality Documentary Award, 2014 Ugu Film Festival South Africa
Winner, Audience Award, 2014 African Film Festival Cologne
2014 Paris Human RIghts Film Festival
2014 Cine Droit Libre Film Festival
2014 New York African Film Festival
"An unflinching account of the 2012 massacre of 38 South African miners in the town of Marikana." —Variety
"While telling a specific story, MINERS SHOT DOWN… delivers a powerful indictment, holding South African President Jacob Zuma and his government responsible for the so-called Marikana Massacre. Recommended!" —Video Librarian
"Give[s] voice to the disenfranchised masses. An important historical document and a call to action.” —African Studies Review