That’s it. South Africa’s platinum strike is officially over and the miners are due back at work tomorrow.
Its been the longest 5 months, in the history of south African strikes and labor relations. Even though some kind of “normalcy” will return tomorrow, we will never be the same, as Ben Magara said “there are no winners”.
There is still much to be done, arguably more so than 5 months ago, because now the shadows of denialism can no longer conceal the cracks of our socio-economic drawbacks. Despite all the financial losses that have been documented over the past few months, it’s not just about the money. Particularly for those, like myself who speak to humanity and not currency. It’s about the people at the center of it all-us, what we do for one another and where we go from here?
All we have is each other and unfortunately these relations aren’t easy. It’s hard to be rich in South Africa, it’s harder to be poor and it’s hard to be stuck in the middle, because we’re all looking to each other to make the first move.
It’s always a case of “come to the table and let’s talk” but we all want to know whose table it is and where exactly this conversation is headed. Yes. We have different interests and the fact is, we always will.
But if this country is going to work, we all have to have the courage to come to the table (regardless of where it is or who sat down first) and just be willing to hear one another out, and I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.
This afternoon seemed so simple. A group of men (Which leaves little to be desired for the feminist in me, but I think that is a post for another time) sat down and worked it all out despite their vastly differing interests. That tells me that behind the CEO’S and the presidents there are reasonable men.
Sometimes we get caught up in our own interests and struggles that we forget that we are all only human. At the end of the day ,we all just want to be able to live, to be able to go home and be with the people we love, we want to share our hopes and dreams with anyone that will listen, and of course being in South Africa- we want to sing and dance, and we want to the person next us, to be able to share that moment.
So, whether we’re in Johannesburg, Rustenburg, Melrose or Marikana, whether we’re CEO’s, miners or Journalists, were not that far from one another, its easy to forget when one is underground, another above while the other is standing on the sidelines watching it all play out. But I honestly believe,(with every naive fibre of my being) that at any given moment, if we want to find each other,we can.
It’s almost unreal. After months of back and forth, it’s finally over and today was a case of divine timing for many people.
For Lonmin CEO Ben Magara, it was the perfect birthday gift. For my colleague Ed Stoddard, it was a fantastic welcome home gift and for me? It was a full circle moment as I come to the end of time my time with Reuters news.
But you know what? its not about us, it never was.
It’s about Mary, who in the next few days will move out of a safe house and go back to her home in Marikana with her children, so they can live as a family again, without fear. It’s about the little girl, whose dad will be able to buy her cheese and atchaar, because that’s what she missed the most. its about the man, who upon hearing his salary increase shouted “If I dont get married, this year-I never will”
Although the battle is won, we haven’t won the war against inequality and poverty. But just for tonight, we can all take a breath, pause and reflect on this journey, because today we’ve done well.
Having said that, here is today’s score
South Africa: 1- Haters: 0
In essence, happiness regins.
“It’s not always rainbows, and butterflies it’s compromise that moves us along, my heart is full and my door is always open, you can come anytime you want”