Two major waves of protest erupted in January in South Africa. In both, expressing the hatred against imperialism that enforces near-slave labour conditions and imperialist chauvinism, foreign capital was targeted. Even thought the reaction in both cases went in hard against the protesters, many could not be deterred. A tremendous expression of courage and bravery are the struggles that took place around Platinum mines of Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat).
Created in the 60s by a “joint venture” of Anglo American Platinum, RBPlats mines are located in Rustenburg, in the north East of the country. On the 12th of January more than 100 miners took part in the protests against the bad working conditions on site and against the dismissal of colleagues. In the course of the protests, 200 meters of a conveyor belt and a guard house were burned. When the protesters tried to open and occupy a locked mine shaft, security guards opened fire on them with live ammunition and killed one of the miners. This incident led to further protests of the residents of the companies residential estate, blocking the access lanes to the mine and building barricades. For many of the miners, this came as no surprise, as three weeks before the mines security forces already shot and severely injured seven people protesting against the dismissal of employees, who were part of an “illegal” strike. Regardless of the reactions terror, they again rallied to fight for their just demands!
Furthermore there were the riots that took place after the Swedish textile concern H&M launched its chauvinist advertising campaign, which was the final straw and unleashed a massive response. All of H&Ms shops South Africa wide had to be closed and protected after they illustrated their new kids collection of sweatshirts by giving the only black child the shirt with the slogan “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”. In cities such as Johannesburg and Preotria, stores of H&M were massively attacked, products and interior destroyed or taken.