Black Lives Matter, the powerful and damning indictment on the current state
of affairs for tens-of-thousands of miners working and living in abysmal conditions
across South Africa, has been selected to screen at the Montreal International Black Film Festival and has been nominated in the Best Documentary Feature Category.
The film was screened last year at the Durban International Film Festival and is an
honest portrayal of the reality of life on the mines. The film puts the Canadian based
mining firm Ivanhoe in the spotlight, taking the Marikana Massacre as its starting
point, but digging deep into the history of the mining sector as well as the political
backstory that led up to the tragedy.
Director Joseph Oesi, a South African filmmaker and TV journalist, was moved to
produce the film after witnessing the devastating events of 16 August 2012 play out
on TV screens across South Africa and the world. Oesi knew that this event was the
manifestation of a much larger story that was taking place, not just in South Africa,
but across the continent. Oesi knew that this event was the manifestation of a much
larger story that was taking place, not just in South Africa, but across the continent.
He explains his motivation for making the film: “South Africa has certainly set a
course, fuelled by a betrayal to the original course set by the original struggle heroes
and to the Freedom Charter. Mining, at the heart of the country’s economy, has
underpinned the course in the interest of big business. In essence the struggles,
sufferings from Colonialism and Apartheid still persist in modern day South Africa to
the disappointment of the vast majority.”