RMF Marikana 3

Poem: Marikana is …

19 August of 2015

By One Stab

marikana is the everyday reality of contemporary south african life

marikana is the contemporary reality of everyday south african life

it is the very foundation on which our country is built

it is cheap labour

it is cheap Black labour

it is white capital

it is white minority capital

it is in post-reform apartheid where a few black faces obscure the true structure of the white supremacist superstructure

in post-reform apartheid where those few black faces allowed access to the exclusive fruits of plunder, buttress, legitimate and preserve the structure of the white supremacist superstructure

marikana is the pitfalls of the african national congress, the pitfalls of transition, the pitfalls of a negotiated settlement

it is the sunset clauses and the success of the late apartheid reform strategy

it is the shattering of skew discourses of freedom that serve to conceal society and its violent reality


marikana is whiteness

the wilful ignorance of privilege

the blissful arrogance of ignorance: it is privilege and the violence on which that system exists

it is monopoly mining capital, it is cecil john rhodes

it is the reason that rhodes must fall


marikana is the violent reality of southern africa’s mineral revolution, the violence that is the very hallmark of local industrial capitalism:

keep labour cheap keep profits high

keep Blacks cheap with rural homes in transkei

marikana is Blackness and the cheapness of Black life

it is the miner, dead from the blast gone wrong and his widow now singing a funeral song


marikana is migrant labour, the destruction of the fabric of Black social life: it is the destruction of the Black family, simultaneously, the engendered construction of the Black family, gendered labour- paid and unpaid. it is drunk absentee fathers, hostel raids, invisible women, urban alcoholism, hut tax and eleven-month contracts

it is the bantustan, the rural slum, the labour reserve, the decentralised space of Black reproduction… of misery, death, and the funeral dirge

[out of view]

marikana is unseen, decentralised misery; the reproduction of Black death

it is the structural violence of the suburbs: the old Black woman who, on one crutch, with help from her grandson, feebly hobbles to my door, and asks me for money. it is she who is the surplus of the system, one of the Blacks that capitalism spat out- surplus to its requirements.


marikana is the concrete statement that Black lives don’t matter

it is sandra bland, it is eric garner, it is one hundred and forty-seven shot dead at garissa, it is boko haram, bring back our girls. it is delia adonis- her attackers walking free. it is state-sanctioned violence liberally doled out by brutes. it is the reason Black people say ‘hands up, don’t shoot’


marikana is the past

marikana is the present

marikana is history

the history is the present

the present is history

the present as history: marikana is sharpeville, it is continuity – – –  a militarised state in crisis

marikana is the embedded contradictions of capitalism in the neo-colonial state whose supposed legitimate use of force, its use of violence tends to contradict the violent discourses of freedom

it is a militarised police force: shoot to kill

it is a time of extremism

it is the time for extremism


marikana is plunder, it is exploitation, oppression, it is the tyranny of capital, the tyranny of the [con]stitution, it is profit, it is starvation wages

marikana is the police, it is the police-state

marikana is cyril ramaphosa

marikana is farlam, it is scape-goating

it is lonmin

it is uct, it is supercare, it is outsourcing, the contemporary form of labour exploitation

marikana is our history

marikana is our present

marikana is ever-present

marikana is our present

marikana is ever-present

marikana is our present, it is ever-present



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