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Strike a Rock is compelling documentary set in the North West mining town of Marikana. Arguably a sequel to Miners Shot Down (2014), Strike a Rock (2017), directed and written by 27-year-old University of Cape Town film student Aliki Sargas, details the aftermath of the brutal massacre that took the lives of 37 miners in August 2012. Sargas provides an intimate account of life in the mining town after police opened fire on the miners and left many women widows.

Primrose Sonti and Thumeka Magwangqana, the film’s protagonists and leaders of the women’s organisation Sikhala Sonke, hold a torch of hope for the women whose dignity has been assaulted in the brutal socioeconomic and political milieu of the post-apartheid state.

Strike a Rock effectively strikes a balance between exposing the intersectionality of multi-layered systemic oppression (race, class and gender) while attempting to restore the humanity of the women living in Wonderkop, Marikana.

This was achieved by focusing solely on their collective voice, thus positioning them as a symbol of strength as opposed to the tired narrative of helpless victims – a sentiment reinforced in the title.

The brilliant use of close-up camera shots establishes an intimacy between the audience and the film’s participants – though at times it could feel intrusive. This spurs emotion, yet forces the viewer to maintain a critical lens.

I felt that the ending lost some of its power by seeming to end several times before it eventually did. However, the vivid storyline and excellent cinematography more than make up for this minor shortfall. The fact that this is a female-led production should not be overlooked.

Strike a Rock is compelling documentary set in the North West mining town of Marikana. Arguably a sequel to Miners Shot Down (2014), Strike a Rock (2017), directed and written by 27-year-old University of Cape Town film student Aliki Sargas, details the aftermath of the brutal massacre that took the lives of 37 miners in August 2012. Sargas provides an intimate account of life in the mining town after police opened fire on the miners and left many women widows.

Primrose Sonti and Thumeka Magwangqana, the film’s protagonists and leaders of the women’s organisation Sikhala Sonke, hold a torch of hope for the women whose dignity has been assaulted in the brutal socioeconomic and political milieu of the post-apartheid state.

Strike a Rock effectively strikes a balance between exposing the intersectionality of multi-layered systemic oppression (race, class and gender) while attempting to restore the humanity of the women living in Wonderkop, Marikana.

This was achieved by focusing solely on their collective voice, thus positioning them as a symbol of strength as opposed to the tired narrative of helpless victims – a sentiment reinforced in the title.

The brilliant use of close-up camera shots establishes an intimacy between the audience and the film’s participants – though at times it could feel intrusive. This spurs emotion, yet forces the viewer to maintain a critical lens.

I felt that the ending lost some of its power by seeming to end several times before it eventually did. However, the vivid storyline and excellent cinematography more than make up for this minor shortfall. The fact that this is a female-led production should not be overlooked.

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