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Failure to air Marikana doccie disappointing: Director

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Monday marked an emotional evening for the families of those killed during the infamous August 2012 Marikana massacre, after a hard-hitting documentary on the tragedy and events leading up to it took home top honours at the International Emmy Awards. Miners Shot Down, directed by Rehad Desai, was awarded Best Documentary for its account of the widely covered story, when police opened fire with live ammunition on striking mineworkers, killing 44 and injuring scores more. The documentary recounts South Africa’s single biggest tragedy post-Apartheid through the eyes of mineworkers themselves.

Speaking to Drivetime, an overjoyed Desai expressed confidence the documentary’s success would open the miners and their respective families’ plight to a much larger audience.

Despite its Emmy victory the documentary has as yet not been aired on South African television, much to Desai’s dismay.

“It is gravely disappointing our public broadcaster doesn’t seem to be independent-minded enough to show this film. Not even or dare I say Mnet, everybody seems to be compromising in one way or the other,” he said, suggesting the country’s main broadcasters were buckling to pressure not to air the documentary.

Desai admitted the making of the film had proven challenging, particularly on a personal and emotional level.

“I was deeply upset by the event, working with such gruesome images day in and day out. It took me at least a couple of months to confront that footage.

“Part of the reason I was so upset was because I come from the liberation movement…my parents sacrificed tremendous amounts, as did their friends and comrades. It (Marikana) feels like a family betrayal because that’s how we lived,” he acknowledged. VOC

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