Marikana 45

45 men dead.

Twelve-thousand, five hundred Rand.

Numbers that mean life or death

Yet no numbers give nor lead to life.

45 men dead.

What is the cost

Of a father?

What is the cost

Of a father

Who returns home


What is the cost

Of a father’s hug?

What is the cost

Of a father’s voice

Over the phone

Telling you

He is coming home?

Bringing you dresses,


School uniform?

What is the cost

Of saying Tata,

uTata wam?

What does it cost

The man who demands

Twelve- thousand, five hundred rand?

When his pocket

Is full with twelve-thousand, five hundred rand?

How will he feel

When he closes his eyes at night?

What does his face look like?

Does he pretend

That he never knew his neighbour?

Does he demand

Twelve-thousand, five hundred rand

With a clear conscience?

Or does he need twelve-thousand, five hundred rand

To bury himself from the sight of forty-five men dead?

To shut himself from the

Sound of gun shots that killed someone’s son,

Someone’s husband,

Someone’s father,

Someone’s uncle,

A neighbour’s son,


Does he still hear

His own name

Without guilt?

Does he still know whose son he is?

Does he know his children?

Can he look at their faces now?

Did he shoot or did he watch his neighbour fall?

Did he too die as he watched his friend fall?

Was the bullet his?

Will he dig where that man once dug?

Will he turn to a sangoma

To kill his conscience and die a slow death?

Will he look to the sky,

Beat his chest?

Will he beg for mercy?

Will he beg for mercy?

Will he beg for mercy?

For the greed of men,

For the lust of power,

For brutal inequalities?

Will he weep and beg for mercy?

For his friend’s children

For himself

For the men in blue

For the men playing with power

For the men of the mines

For the men who thought

They were in charge?

For the 45 men?


Siki Dlanga

I am a South African woman who laughs out loud. I think beauty is not well understood so too often it is exploited and too often its power underrated. The course of life is most impacted by those who have the most significant conversations. Thus life is the sum of conversations. I hope to capture you with the beauty of being in conversation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *