Each recipient of the “€œmuti“€”€”a Southern African term meaning “€œtraditional medicine”€”€”reportedly paid the “€œhealer”€ SAR 1,000 ($120), and with this treatment they were assured the police bullets would become harmless. They were then instructed to simply look forward and charge the men in blue and victory was assured.

Armed with this knowledge they prepared for their attack. The “€œmedicine man”€ also gave them a rabbit and told them not to harm it. Unfortunately, this proved too onerous a task and the rabbit’s demise is apparently the reason 34 people died. 

A mine worker told the Saturday Star newspaper:

The traditional healer warned all of us several times on the day not to kill the rabbit, but some among us decided to chase it around the hill and killed it….If we had let the rabbit free all of the dead would still be alive, I swear.

There’s an embarrassing resemblance between Marikana and that infamous example of “€œracist”€ brutality, the Sharpeville Massacre of March 21, 1960. That day is an iconic one on the South African calendar, held out to all as a constant reminder of apartheid’s beastly iniquity. In that instance an angry crowd of thousands laid siege to a police station and after all other tactics failed the cops fired, killing 69 people. Because it was Boers doing the shooting the matter went straight to the UN’s hallowed halls the next month and a condemnatory resolution was promptly passed which some suggest heralded the beginning of the end for the “€œracist”€ nationalists then led by Hendrik Verwoerd. 

In Africa they say you can take people out the bush but you can”€™t take the bush out of the people.

 



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