Schlagwort-Archive: production

Exklusiv-Story: Ein Minenarbeiter packt aus

„Es muss so schnell wie möglich eine Lösung gefunden werden“

(Autor/ Editor: Ghassan Abid)

Deutsche Interview-Zusammenfassung:

Akanyang Merementsi ist Minenarbeiter und Blogger aus der südafrikanischen Provinz North West. Er lebt in Rustenburg. Dem Ort, an welchem das “Massaker” gegen 34 Minenarbeiter begangen wurde. Er war bei den tragischen Ereignissen nicht dabei, kennt aber viele der Leute persönlich. Akanyang untermauert, dass die Arbeiter mehr Geld wollen. Hingegen fühlen sich viele Minenarbeiter nicht mehr durch die Minengewerkschaft NUM angemessen repräsentiert. Es wird vor Ort befürchtet, dass andere Minenarbeiter sich den Protesten in Marikana & Rustenburg anschließen könnten. Diese Solidaritätsbewegung befürwortete Julius Malema, der einstige ANC-Jugendliga-Präsident. Die unangenehme Situation der gegenwärtigen südafrikanischen Bergwerkindustrie erinnere an die 70/80er-Jahre. Einige Minenarbeiter sehen gar einen direkten Vergleich zwischem dem Marikana-Massaker 2012 und dem Sharpeville-Massaker von 1960. Akanyang beklagt, dass niemand die Verantwortung für die Geschehnisse tragen möchte. NUM und AMCU schieben sich gegenseitg die Schuld zu. Auch die Rolle der Polizei könne nicht abschließend bewertet werden. Offiziell hat die Polizeibehörde SAPS das Verhalten der Beamten als Selbstverteidigung deklariert. Die gegenwärtigen Untersuchungen – ausgehend von einer durch Präsident Zuma eingesetzten Kommission und die der polizeilichen Innenrevision „Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID)“ – werden den tragischen Vorfällen auf den Grund gehen. Mittlerweile streiken nicht nur die Minenarbeiter, sondern auch deren Ehefrauen und die Lokalgemeinschaften. Auf die Frage hin, ob er Vergeltungsangriffe der Minenarbeiter auf die Polizei befürchte, konnte Akanyang keine Einschätzung dessen abgeben. Der Interviewte betont, dass eine Lösung so schnell wie möglich her muss. Grundsätzliche Entlassungen des Bergbaukonzerns Lonmin würden die bestehende Situation nur verschlimmern. Der gegenwärtige Ruf des Managements lässt sich auf die reine Profitgier reduzieren; die hart arbeitenden Minenarbeiter finden umso weniger Beachtung. Minenarbeiter verdienen mit 4.000 Rand zu wenig, damit es zum Leben ausreicht. Dieser Verdienst soll jedoch nach dem Willen der Belegschaft auf 5.000 bis 12.000 Rand angehoben werden – also eine Verdreifachung. Dabei handelt sich um die Minenarbeiter in vielen Fällen um sogenannte „Rock Drill Operators“, also unter Tage hart ackernde Bohrer. Die Arbeit der in Rivalität zueinander stehenden Minengewerkschaften NUM und AMCU bezeichnet der Minenarbeiter als „chaotisch“. Mittlerweile verliert NUM zunehmend mehr Mitglieder an AMCU.

© Akanyang Merementsi ist ein Minenarbeiter aus Rustenburg, North West. Er erlebt die Entwicklungen im Bergbausektor Südafrikas jeden Tag aufs Neue. Er fordert eine schnellstmögliche Lösung des Problems. Vor allem die Entlohnung seiner Kollegen decke den Lebensunterhalt definitiv nicht.

© Akanyang Merementsi ist ein Minenarbeiter aus Rustenburg, North West. Er erlebt die Entwicklungen im Bergbausektor Südafrikas jeden Tag aufs Neue. Er fordert eine schnellstmögliche Lösung des Problems. Vor allem die Entlohnung seiner Kollegen decke den Lebensunterhalt definitiv nicht.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: We would like to welcome on SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste – the German Gateway to South Africa – the Rustenburg miner Akanyang Merementsi. Dear Akanyang, as a miner you are following the current developments in your home province North West very closely. How could this escalation happen?

Answer: Workers want money and they might go to whatever extent at their exposal to go and get it. At least there were not any destruction to (public) properties by strikers.

The fact that they felt leaderless – after apparently abandoning NUM because it no longer cared about their needs – may have contributed to what we have since the strike started on Aug 10.

From media reports coming live that area as I am far from it – it is likely that this will take longer. There are fears that other mine workers around the area will join in in „solidarity“ as they were advised by expelled African National Congress Youth League President Julius Malema on 18 Aug.

But it is doubtful if they would given the many dead bodies they had witnessed themselves as a result. Some are also suggesting that what happened at Lonmin’s Marikana operations is like to be witnessed at other mining operations not only around the Rustenburg but country wide. But that remains to be seen.

© Einige Minenarbeiter waren mit Messern und anderen Waffen ausgestattet. Die Polizei beharrt bisweilen auf ihr Selbstverteidigungsrecht. (Quelle: Akanyang Merementsi)

© Einige Minenarbeiter waren mit Messern und anderen Waffen ausgestattet. Die Polizei beharrt bisweilen auf ihr Selbstverteidigungsrecht. (Quelle: Akanyang Merementsi)

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Some media are talking about a state of “civil war”. Are you sharing this view?

Answer: Some have called it a „massacre“ while others have, as you suggest, seen it as a „civil war“ not only between mine workers and their employers.

It is an unpleasant situation that was apparently last seen in the 70s and 80s – one situation many have since likened to the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Who bears the blame for the situation?

Answer: There are finger pointing at the moment and no one seems to take responsibility for what happened especially among the unions as to what led to the strike in the first place.

Majority union at Lonmin, NUM, blames its rival, AMCU and the later denies its involvement in having made the strikers even angrier.

As for the shooting on Thursday, the police are yet to admit their actions were wrong. This as National Police Commission has repeatedly defended the police services‘ shooting at the strikers, saying their (police) lives were in danger and therefore they had acted in self-defence.

On Friday President Jacob Zuma announced a commission of inquiry which will try and get to bottom of what actually had transpired during the shooting. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is also said to have announced its own investigation that „will seek to establish if the police action was proportional to the threat posed by the miners“.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What is the mood among the miners?

Answer: Media reports quote many miners saying they will continue to strike until their demands are met. Even their wives and local community women had joined in in solidarity, accusing the mine of not treating strikers like human beings. According to a Mail & Guardian Online report, the miners said they will regroup and have a meeting again on Aug 20.

© Die Frauen der Minenarbeiter haben sich den Protesten angeschlossen. Unterdessen sicherte die Regierung den Witwen und Halbwaisen umfassende Unterstützung zu. (Quelle: flickr/ Pan-African News Wire)

© Die Frauen der Minenarbeiter haben sich den Protesten angeschlossen. Unterdessen sicherte die Regierung den Witwen und Halbwaisen umfassende Unterstützung zu. (Quelle: flickr/ Pan-African News Wire)

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Are you expecting revenge on the cops?

Answer: That is difficult to say. They may want to revenge because, say, their colleagues were killed for nothing except that they only wanted their wage demands met. So I can’t say with certainty as couldn’t the police whether the remaining miner workers would revenge their colleagues deaths or not.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Do the miners of Lonmin fearing now a wave of mass layoffs?

Answer: There haven’t been any reports that there will be lay-off yet. I think what is important now is that a solution must be found as soon as possible, and if there are lay-off plans, those will be discussed at a later stage but now when over 50 people have just been shot at, with over 75 being wounded.

Any suggestions of lay-off now will not only be miscalculated but that it might escalate the situation to more than what had been seen in the mining industry. That would also reinforce the perception that the Lonmin management does not want to give salary increases because they are only looking at their profits and own pockets and not the hard working miners‘.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: What is a mine worker earning on average per month in South Africa?

Answer: It will be difficult to give an average of generally what mine workers earn. Remember just early this year the same category of workers had embarked on a strike at Impala demanding a take home of about R9000.00 because they claimed their take home of about R4000.00 was not enough. Now Lonmin’s Rock Drill Operators also reportedly want their take home to be increased from R4000 or R5000 to R12000.

Besides, you cannot get an average of how much miners earn because their categories of work are not the same.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Are wage demands by 200 percent really justified?

Answer: Only they (Lonmin strikers) can say whether that is justified or not.

Importantly, no Lonmin/Impala or any other platinum mining company would operate without Rock Drill Operators – especially when we talk of production.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: How do you evaluate the work of trade unions NUM and AMCU?

Answer: Their status are in shambles.

NUM is gradually losing membership to AMCU and the latter seems to be dominating – but without the bargaining power at Lonmin – and gradually taking over the mining industry.

2010sdafrika-editorial staff: Thank you very much for this interview. Hope the mining sector in South Africa will get ASAP a sufficient solution on this crisis.

Review of „Gangster Project“

Pure violence as basis of interaction between people in Bonteheuwel

(Editor: Ghassan Abid, Translator German-English: Serge Aka)

Violence, drugs, unemployment, jail and shot holes in walls, such is how one imagines the daily life of a community dominated by gangsters. With the documentation „Gangster Project“, the director Teboho Edkins introduces the audience to Bonteheuwel, one of the poorest and most criminal suburbs of Cape Town.

© Outtake from documentary „Gangster Project“

In January 2010, Edkins went with a cameraman to a world, where life in prison seemed nicer than that in this dreary place. Bonteheuwel, like many places in South Africa is in the hands of several gangs. Entire streets are under the control of a certain gang. In Bonteheuwel, gangs like Wonder Kids, Stupaboys, youngsters or Junior Night Pigs reign over the territories and their residents. From childhood, the inhabitants of these suburbs realized that pure violence is the only remaining option for them to survive. With bestial film sequences, like the fight of dogs, Edkins brings the viewers in an atmosphere of another South Africa beyond TV glamor.

The production was not without risk, and despite the skepticism of his own parents, the director went forward with the film production. Edkins succeeded immensely into this underworld by means of an insider, called Thurston, who made the contacts to the different collectives of the criminal milieu possible. With Macho behaviors and verbal claims to power like “We have to fight ” (to German: Wir müssen kämpfen) or “We try to protect the area” (Wir versuchen das Gebiet zu schützen), it is clear to the outsider that the social situation in Bonteheuwel can completely overturn any time and especially unexpected.

Edkins deliberately confronts the gangster with gangster-stereotypical perceptions of western life culture, according to which a gangster is for example, someone who comes with a lot of charisma in appearance. “Gangster Project” brings the audience within these 55 minutes to a total realization, that death is omnipresent.

Edkins makes clear with its documentation that the gangster existence is connected primarily with the lack of perspectives of young people, who basically have nothing to lose. The gangsters do not look – like us – in the future, but only in the present. No one wants to be a gangster, if not has to, in order to finally survive. With drug consumption such as TIK these young people try to escape their hopeless reality – even if it’s only for few hours.

Each of these protagonists ultimately illustrates the failure of the South African government, to have this problem under control. The effects of gangs remain open of course on the role of the women, who are after reports of several NGOs in many cases victims of sexual assaults by gangs. It also remains uncertain how the relationship of the gangsters to their own relatives is; and what the parents think of the criminal careers of their offspring.

„SÜDAFRIKA – Land der Kontraste“ recommends “Gangster Project” as impressing, thoughtfully making and frightening film about the true life of millions of South Africans, who know nothing else other than blood, violence and the fear of death.

Absolutely worth seeing!

The German review to „Gangster Project:

Soap Operas True Reflection Of Current SA?

South Africans are loving soaps

(Editor: Tuming Lee)

Part 1:

Generations, Muvhango and Scandal constitute the crème de la crème of Mzansi’s local soap operas, attracting millions of viewership every weekday during prime time. Generations, with a viewership of 4 458 000 is not called Mzansi’s most watched soapy for nothing. Even though South Africans still enjoy American Soaps, they can’t help but feel patriotic every time they have to watch Kenneth Mashaba, devious media mogul played by Seputla Sebogodi, delivering his usual spectacular, SAFTA (South African Film and Television Awards) deserving performance of kicking out a subordinate from his office, with the classic line, “A bo re gwaa!” (Northern Sotho’s equivalent of ‘Bugger Off.’) This proves once more that local is always lekker. Nothing can make you feel more nostalgic than a home grown TV production with next door faces and local languages.

Everybody in South Africa loves his soaps, even this Baby by watching „Generations“

Just as Nelson Mandela is affectionately known as Madiba which is a clan name of which Mr Mandela is a member, South Africa is now simply being referred to as Mzansi. Mzansi is a term of endearment that means south and it was given to SA by its fabulous and vibrant Nguni language speaking youth. As in Ayoba (township slang for cool!), the word Mzansi has sneaked its way into the vocabulary of every curious mind in the country – young and old, black and white, print and social media alike to become the latest unity symbol of the rainbow nation. It is only a matter of time before Mzansi and Ayoba find themselves cosy little spots in the South African English dictionary, a global recognition that is long overdue.

© Screenshot from TV soap "Generations" (Source: YouTube)

Everyday some men and women hurriedly clear up their work desk and rush through traffic to get home before 6 pm for one more dosage of their favourite soap opera. More so, men than women because most men would rather have their limbs amputated than willingly admit to watching soap operas. Why? Because soap watching is embarrassing and considered a chick thing. Besides, what are Peter’s colleagues and buddies supposed to think when they hear how he had traded a perfect two hours of beer drinking and loud burping for an early night in front of the couch, biting his nails and hugging his pillow listening to best friends, Tshidi and Puleng’s in etv’s Rhythm City talking about whether or not Tshidi should marry Dylan or abort the baby. How would the guys perceive Peter, knowing that he was clutching to a pillow, shedding a tear the moment he learnt about Cheryl’s conspiracy to snatch her employer, Braam le Roux and marry him from right under her best friend’s Marlien’s nose in order to gain control of BLR Empire and get back at his number one enemy, former prisoner and millionaire ex-husband Barker Heinz.

The convoluted commentary typically characterises a soap opera plot where normally everybody is related either by marriage or birth but continues to intermarry, resulting in family disoriented off springs with a serious series of identity crises. The producers think it is a winning formula hence the recurring, feminine plot in almost all soap operas, leaving men with little or no entertainment.

Uninviting as soap operas might be to men, more and more males are rationalising their soapy watching as an occasional sneak peek in order to keep up with their women’s interests and so they let the world believe. They are quick to label soaps as hogwash and are always on tenterhooks waiting to deny their involvement in soap operas. Unsettling behaviour indeed.

Kgogo e e lelang pele, lee ke la yone – loosely translated, this saying means ‘the egg belongs to the hen that crows first’. The first ones to deny watching soap operas are usually the ones that watch it. It is an attention deflecting tactic away from the real culprits.

Even though men would be the first to confess that they do not find the plot of soap operas the least bit appealing and that they are only watching because of their wives or girlfriends, it is surprising how quick they are to proclaiming, that even if one does not watch soap operas for a year, Brooke would still be pining for Ridge while Eric Forrester will still be lusting after another bold and beautiful young thing to take as his next wife.”

Lo and behold, one year later, Brooke is standing by Ridge’s office door at Forrester Creations wearing a little red number that leaves a lot to the imagination and Ridge is left drooling and speechless one more time. Across the hallway in another office, Eric is on the phone, charming the pants off of Brooke’s sister Donna, inviting her to meet him at the Big Bear Cabin because he is divorcing Stephanie who has finally agreed to sign the divorce papers. What a strange coincidence! It is either soap opera’s plots don’t change that much or the men are lying and do actually watch soap operas behind women’s back. Female intuition says it is the latter.

On a serious note though, if so many people watch soap operas, doesn’t that put responsibility on the soapy production team to provide material that contributes positively towards the advancement of society? Therefore the question remains: Are local soap operas a true reflection of the current South Africa? More on this in Soap Operas True Reflection Of Current SA, Part 2.