The Social Justice Lens

Voices from the platinum belt victory

Text by Gillian Schutte Films by Sipho Singiswa The stadium in Phokeng outside Rustenberg exploded in jubilation when the end of the longest strike in South African history was announced on June 23. Men and women waved their arms victoriously in the air and resounding ululations and cheering reverberated as a great burden of domestic…

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Gift of the Givers humanitarian outreach on platinum belt

Media for Justice joined Gift of the Givers, which went into the platinum belt on a humanitarian mission to help sustain the workers over this period of hardship. Over a two-month period the NGO distributed thousands of food parcels, sanitary packs, nappies and blankets to mine workers and communities, who were virtually on the brink…

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Over the rainbow – voices from the margins of South Africa

Why poverty? In a country where only 8% of the total national income is shared by 50% of the population the problem of inequality persists 20 years into our new democracy. While a quarter of all South Africans live on $1.82 a day the top 20% (10 million people) enjoy 75% of the national income….

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Voices from Kagiso: Community says Mintails’ suspension is a smokescreen

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has suspended Australian mining company Mintails’ operations in Kagiso on the west rand after community members embarked on protests citing serious environmental, safety and health violations and structural damage to their houses as a result of the mine’s operations in close proximity to their homes. Media for Justice reports that…

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The terminal nature of poverty

By Gillian Schutte As academics, journalists, social commentators and activists we have a sense that we know the poor. We are outraged by poverty and inequality and advocate for equity and a life of dignity for all. We look for ways to bring the voices of the poor into the public debate and ask questions…

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Waiting to inhale (Part 1)

By Gillian Schutte It’s a blistering hot afternoon when we arrive at the Barracks. This regimentally built cluster of council houses was erected in Wentworth in the 1970s and used to temporarily house part of the community that was forcibly removed from Cato Manor to Durban South in the 1974. Thirty-six years later the same…

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The Marikana Files II

Presented by Sipho Singiswa this episode looks at the impact the mining companies have on the environment and people living around the Lonmin mining operations — with a particular emphasis on children. Community leader and activist Chris Molebatsi says that what the people want is respect from mine owners. If there was respect for the…

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Shit and social justice

Poststructuralist psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan has argued that humans distinguish themselves from animals in the instant during which shit becomes something shameful. Thus it is the norm in ‘polite society’ that humans defecate in the privacy of a toilet in which their waste can be instantly flushed away. In fact toilet training is the foundation for…

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Lack of basic services compromises women’s dignity

A trip into any of the hundreds of informal settlements in South Africa is a brutal reminder of the need to highlight issues such as the absence of basic services for women living in impoverished conditions. Women struggle against the diseases that flourish in areas that offer virtually no services. This clip is from the…

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The Marikana Files

Social Justice Journalist and Filmmaker, Sipho Singiswa, takes us inside Marikana to meet the miners and community members who live in the impoverished settlements around the Lonmin Mining operation. He also interviews Head Researcher of the Bench Marks Foundation David Van Wyk on the issue of socioeconomic transgressions that this community is forced to deal…

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