Some days before the crackdown on “illegal gatherings” and weapons in Marikana during the strike last month, colleagues and I watched wave after wave of striking mine workers, resolute in their demands and jubilant in their songs that eulogised the man in the green blanket, Amabubhesi. The town had been brought to a standstill as strikers marched back from one of Lonmin’s shafts to Wonderkop. As group after group passed through the town under the watchful eyes of a hefty police contingent, a colleague pointed out that the march was actually an illegal gathering. “If the police really wanted to, they could just arrest all these guys for illegal protests,” he volunteered.
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