Teboho was cooking when he heard his phone ringing, as it so often did.

“Hello Thabo, what’s the problem with you?” asked Teboho, and sat down.

“Have you heard, my friend? The police have started: tomorrow morning they will demolish the shacks. The municipality instructed them to evict us,” said Thabo.

This affected Teboho badly. When he had finished cooking, he picked up the phone and logged on to Facebook to pass on the message, his spirit heavy .

Police cars passed the main road in the early hours of the morning, accompanied by nyalas. The police arrived at Marikana with shotguns loaded with rubber bullets. The red ants came down from the mountain.

“We have been sent by the local municipality to inform you that you are living in this area illegally,” said Sergeant Maqelepo, through a loudspeaker.

Some people complained, while others started collecting tyres. The red ants started the demolitions and some protesters fought with them.

“We only give you a few seconds to leave this area!” the sergeant ordered them.

Teboho and his team met on the hill to make a plan about this matter.

“Guys, we have to fight, this is our section, they have no right to evict us,” said Teboho. “We are ready to fight for our rights!”

The police started firing rubber bullets. The protesters retaliated by throwing stones at the police, and hit one officer who fell down. Both sides charged at each other more violently. When the police saw stones flying in the air, they turned around and hid themselves.

“Let’s attack them!” said Thabo, holding another stone, and the protesters followed him.

“We’re running out of rubber bullets, officers, hurry up!” yelled Sergeant Maqelepo.

The tyres burned, the boys took the bricks and closed the main road.

“This mayor is giving us problems, we need to show him who we are,” said Topisi.

The boys barricaded the road with burning tyres. The school children had gone home.

“Why are you coming back so breathless, who is after you?” Mmatankiso asked her child.

“Mommy, it’s a mess out here, police are shooting Marikana residents,” the child responded, shivering.

“Hide, my baby, I don’t want to see you on the street.”

The people of Marikana fled to the mountains. While the red ants were busy, one stone hit a member on the chest.

“Watch them, go and attack,” said their boss.

Teboho grabbed a stone and hit another policeman so hard he fell to the ground. Police fired at them and they ran away. The police chased them. One bullet hit a protester and he fled, bleeding.

“Hey guys, the cops have already shot someone with a rubber bullet,” said Thabo, and threw a petrol bomb at the police. It exploded from a distance.

“There is an explosion,” said one of the police officers. He fired directly where the petrol bomb had come from. The police charged the protesters again, and they fled further to the mountain. The police started to prepare stun grenades, then threw them. Residents ran away, others cried because of gas.

“Hey, you thugs, let’s go!” shouted Sergeant Maqelepo, beginning the arrests.

Some of the boys were hiding in the mountains. The stones appeared behind the hills and flew in the air. Then they fell on the red ants like rain. Some of them ran away.

“We urgently need police assistance,” one worker said, bleeding. Police arrived and threw a few more stun grenades and fired more rubber bullets. But the boys went out quickly to where they were hiding. Now journalists had arrived to cover the riots.

“We are very upset as Marikana residents, the municipality does not have the right to evict people from their homes. We, as leaders, we will follow this matter up. Tomorrow we are delivering our memorandum to the municipality,” Teboho told reporters.

Early in the morning, a group of protesters sang at the municipality gates and some started to burn tyres. Teboho and his crew delivered a memorandum to the municipality.

“As Marikana residents, we are very concerned about police evicting us,” said Teboho, holding a loudspeaker.

The mayor stood behind the closed gate. “We hear you and we will work with you together to give you the suitable sites. You are not supposed to reside there because it is closed to the mountain, and floods might affect you during heavy rains,” the mayor answered them. Most protesters came from outside the big town of Karisburg to support the Marikana strike.

“We don’t know where to sleep, and we have no food. As the mayor, you need to give us food and shelter,” shouted Thabo.

Mr Seiphemo, the mayor, did not answer them. The residents became aggressive and they attacked. They destroyed a gate with their power.

“We don’t have time for games here, let us attack!” shouted Teboho. The protesters attacked and they destroyed the municipality offices by throwing stones and petrol bombs. Mr Seiphemo escaped through the back exit. Within a few minutes, police fired rubber bullets at the protesters.

“The police will annoy us.” Teboho’s face became red and his eyes were wide open. He took a petrol bomb, lit it and threw it at the police van. The van was burned down. Police threw stun grenades at the residents to disperse them.

“Ahhhhh, this gas is destroying me!” said one protester, running away.

Then the protesters went to the school to disturb classes. Learners left school and they looted shops, even gangsters took advantage.

“Hey, open here, we need food!”

An Ethiopian man locked himself inside the shop. These gangsters forced opened the shop and they took everything. The alarm went off and they ran away. The police force called more backup to assist. A helicopter appeared and they fired at the protesters. Some hid themselves inside the people’s houses and the police managed to arrest them.

A helicopter landed and police got out with ropes. The protesters dispersed like flies. A loud explosion was heard, and some protesters froze, they could not run.

“Don’t move, stay there!” a task-team officer ordered. Half of the protesters got arrested and the task team patrolled every area in and around Marikana.


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