This is the story of two South African mothers, Primrose Sonti and Thumeka Magwangqana, who lead their community in a fight against seemingly insurmountable odds for equality, justice and dignity.
They live in Nkaneng, Marikana. An informal settlement in rural South Africa that sprung up around a mine operated by Lonmin Plc, the third largest platinum extractor in the world. This company has significant legal obligations to the community that they mine under and around.
This community became internationally known after the Marikana Massacre in 2012, when 37 striking mineworkers were killed by police. However, the living conditions that motivated the strike in the first place have not improved, in fact they have worsened. And this is what Primrose and Thumeka are fighting against. These two inspiring women formed a women’s organisation Sikhala Sonke (We-Cry-Together) after their friend and one of their own, Paulina, was killed by police. Facing legacies left by Apartheid, crippling poverty, stifling patriarchy and a community traumatised, the women of Sikhala Sonke are adamant to expose the squalor they live in and to unite the women in their community.
Over time we see Primrose and Thumeka grow into two different leaders in the search for social and economic justice. Primrose begins to climb the political ladder in a revolutionary new opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters that promises the disenfranchised poor of South Africa land, jobs and opportunities. Her ambition lands her a seat in Parliament, but to take up the post she must leave Marikana and move to Cape Town. Thumeka must now face her fears as she picks up the reigns of Sikhala Sonke, to become a community leader. Both women take on the goliath enemies who appear to have colluded against the people of Marikana, dodging responsibility at the highest level. Primrose uses politics to speak directly to the failed government in the halls of Parliament whilst Thumeka uses civil society activism to take on the mining company.
This is a story about two women who battle every day to rebuild their traumatised community. It's a story of gaining a voice and building strength, of protesting and sacrificing. But most importantly it is a story about friendship, sisterhood and the importance in sticking together in the face of adversity.
How will these two women make their voices heard to affect real change?
We are still crying because there is no solution. There is no change; we are still crying and we will cry.
— Primrose Nokulunga Sonti, founder of Sikhala Sonke (We Cry Together)
They said Marikana will change, but the land of milk and honey is just one of dust and iron.
— Thumeka Magwangqana