In the wake of the Marikana massacre, Bertha supported activists,
storytellers, and lawyers whose projects form part of a broad campaign
for the Marikana miners and their families fighting for justice.
In August 2012, eighteen years after the end of South
African apartheid, 37 striking miners from
one of South Africa's biggest platinum mines
were shot dead by police.
The miners were demanding a living wage of
USD 1,500 per month. After the massacre, 270
of the strikers were arrested and charged
with the murder of their colleagues.

The fight for justice for the victims and
their families - and the fight to challenge
state impunity - continues today

Despite promises for negotiations with workers
and an end to the standoff, the strikers and
their supporters noticed a rapidly building
security presence on the morning of
16 August 2012

Thursday Afternoon
16 August 2012
Police open fire

After public outcry, the charges against the
striking miners were dropped and the
government announced the creation of the
Marikana Commission of Inquiry (the
Commission) to investigate the incident.

Filmmaker Rehad Desai had been filming
the strikers and was at the Lonmin mine
at the time of the massacre. Bertha
supported the production, distribution
and outreach campaign for his
documentary Miners Shot Down

Miners Shot Down provides an in-depth look at
the massacre from the miners' point of view.
The critically acclaimed film premiered in Cape
Town, South Africa, to a standing room only
audience of 800 Bertha Justice Fellows, partner
organizations, and local community groups at the
Bertha Justice Initiative Global Convening.
This screening was followed by a panel
discussion with lawyers from Socio-Economic
Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), Centre
for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) and Legal
Resources Centre (LRC), and helped to educate
our global network about the massacre.

[The film] helped people understand the challenges we face in South Africa and the very complex and sometimes contradictory setting we operate in as human rights lawyers.”

Bertha Justice Fellow,
Legal Resources Centre

Miners Shot Down Screenings





in 19 countries


in 13 countries including Namibia, Zimbabwe,
Russia, and the Philippines


across 4 cinemas in South Africa


plus 4 Community TV channels in South Africa



including 5 jury awards



Over the first 3 months:

  • average new 6 likes per day
  • average of 116 users engaging with the page each day
  • total reach: 204,107
  • average daily reach: 2,346
  • 6,000 Twitter followers

10,000 MEMBERS

of Justice Now for Marikana Strikers
(Marikana Support Campaign)

The film simultaneously premiered at
One World Human Rights Film
Festival in Prague, winning the
Vaclav Havel Jury Award.

It was featured on
AfriDocs, a Bertha-supported
channel and the first documentary
strand across sub Saharan
Africa - which broadcasts in 49
countries across the continent.

Miners Shot Down screened at
the Bertha DocHouse cinema in
London, UK, and during a Bertha
supported political training course
at the Escola Nacional Florestan
Fernandes in São Paulo, Brazil.

Extract from Q&A
with Director
Rehad Desai

Unlike news reports, where one depends on the interpretation of someone else, the viewer watches the harrowing events unfold in front of their very own eyes.”

“Miners Shot Down;” a haunting
and emotional documentary
Africa Is a Country
30 May 2014

Meticulously constructed, Miners Shot Down gives us a narrative lacking from news coverage.”

MOVIE REVIEW: Miners Shot Down
IOL Beta
30 May 2014

One wistful miner said to me, ‘Everyone must see this film.’”

South Africa: Everyone Must See This Film
All Africa
4 March 2014

A real horror movie.”

Yolisa Mkele
Times Live
16 May 2014

Rehad Desai's documentary brings the miners to the fore with a terrible poignancy and an equal measure of
urgency. ”

Movie Review: Miners Shot Down: Devastating Cinema
3 June 2014

The Bertha Justice Initiative supports
a number of the legal organizations in
South Africa which represent the
victims and their families before the
Marikana Commission of Inquiry.


Legal Resources Centre, who has carried out
an independent investigation into the police
shootings and who represented victims
and their families.


Centre for Applied Legal Studies, who has
filed a legal complaint against the World Bank's
investment in the mining company responsible
for the massacre.


Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa,
who provided support for families of the victims.

Bertha supported LRC's representation of victims,
and LRC also presented evidence on behalf of the public interest.
CALS represented the South African Human Rights
Commission (SAHRC), including throughout their
participation in the Marikana Commission of Inquiry.
CALS also represented the Women of Marikana
in their efforts to march and protest during the
running of the Commission and recently filed a
complaint with the World Bank on their behalf
against Lonmin mine for failing to comply with
its social commitments.

The SAHRC and CALS considers that there is a real risk of unfairness, and a real risk that the purpose of the commission will be compromised, if adequate legal representation is not afforded to the injured and arrested miners of Marikana.”

SAHRC spokesperson Wisani Baloyi

SERI represents the families of 37 striking
miners and the Association of Mineworkers and
Construction Union (AMCU) at the Commission.
Bertha provided funding support to ensure
SERI's ability to continue.

We simply could not have continued with our
work in the Marikana Commission without
support from Bertha. SERI, the Commission
itself, and the possibility that the
Commission will actually make a difference
are all attributable in some measure, to
Bertha coming in and making its contribution
when it did.”

Stuart Wilson, SERI

Through a Media Impact Opportunity Fund,
Bertha funded SERI to produce a series of
educational videos about Marikana to be used in
their outreach and advocacy work.
The first of these “Imbokodo: The Widows
of Marikana”, examines the experiences of
the families of the miners killed at Marikana
at the Commission.
It was released to coincide with the third
anniversary of the first police killings at
Marikana and will be used on their outreach
tour of the Eastern Cape.
The Marikana Support Campaign, an
activist campaign that works towards
ensuring that those responsible for the
Marikana Massacre are brought to justice,
forged by activists, mineworkers and
members of the Marikana community
three weeks after the massacre.
In August 2014,, a Bertha-
supported independent, community advocacy
organization, led a campaign for
Miners Shot Down to be aired on TV.
In March 2014, Bertha funded the
The Peoples History of Marikana book
in IsiXhosa, recording the story as given by
those miners who participated in the
strike and the families who suffered the
consequences of the massacre.
Bertha-supported Right to Know (R2K) Campaign
plays a key role in the continuing fight for
justice on behalf of victims, families, and
the miners' community.
The R2K campaign used their expertise
in anti-secrecy campaigning to support the South African
History Archive and the Marikana Support Campaign in
submitting a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA)
request to the Presidency for the release of the
Farlam Commission Report.
In June 2015, President Zuma finally released
the findings of the Commission. The report
was heavily criticized.

On the whole, though, the report is a poorly written summary of some of the evidence the Commission managed to scrape together. That summary is clearly slanted towards power and the police. The truth is that the families of the deceased are left no wiser as to their loved one's deaths. That brute fact can only lead to the conclusion that the Commission has failed in its central task.”

Stuart Wilson, SERI

Despite the report's failures, there is immense
value in the substantial archive of materials that
was accumulated at the Commission - an
archive that partner organization, SERI, is
now working to organize and preserve as the
historical record of Marikana.
Their work has not stopped with the Commission
report: litigation, research, advocacy and
outreach efforts continue.
In December of 2016, over four years since
the Marikana Massacre, the President gave
an update that the South African Police Service
officers have been charged with murder and
obstruction of justice, and that the government
is ready to pay compensation to the families
of the Marikana victims.

We wholeheartedly welcome this statement as a starting point for justice for the victims of Marikana. The prosecutions against the police are a real beginning but we believe it's inconceivable that Lonmin executives have not been held accountable on criminal charges as should be the case with the ministers who were advanced in the planning of this operation. We welcome it as a fine starting point but it's certainly not the end of the matter.”

Rehad Desai, Director of Miners Shot Down

Both the President and those involved
with Marikana's support campaign acknowledge
that the investigation is still underway
and that the politicians and Lonmin executives
need to be held responsible as well.
Across the media, activist, and legal landscapes,
the fight for justice carries on, but the charges
against the offending police and the promise of
compensation for the victims will hopefully
foreshadow justice to come.

Timeline of the campaign
and its impact