GIPCA, in association with UCT’s Centre for Film and Media Studies will present an academic screening of Mama Marikana by documentary filmmaker Aliki Saragas on Wednesday, 20 May at 18:00. This free screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.

Mama Marikana follows the 2014 screening by GIPCA of Rehad Desai’s Miners Shot DownMama Marikana gives a voice to the women of Marikana: the widows, mothers, sisters and community members in the aftermath of the 2012 killings at the Lonmin mine near Rustenburg.

The women living in Marikana, almost forgotten by society, struggle to pick up the pieces and move on with their lives. The sixty minute long documentary explores the women’s struggle to move from a space of oppression to one of empowerment. Mama Marikana takes a look behind the miners’ narrative and follows the stories of five women: Primrose Nokulunga Sonti and Thumeka Magwangqana, leaders in Sikhala Sonke the Marikana Women’s group, Evelyn Seipati Mmekwa a God-fearing mother of the community and Zameka Nungu and Nonkululeko Ngxande widows of the slain miners, Jackson “Ace” Lehopa and Mphumezi Ngxande. 

Saragas shot the documentary as part of her thesis towards her masters in Documentary Arts at the Centre for Film and Media Studies at UCT. “From the beginning, I wanted this film to be an intimate portrait of the women that occupy the space of Marikana as well as their story over the past three years,” Saragas says. The women provide a powerful voice to others in their community through strength, agency and protest, as they continue to struggle through a never-ending commission, the debilitating mineworker strike and a commemorative play. The documentary tracks their struggle from the day of the massacre to 16 August 2014 showing the growth of Sikhala Sonke women’s group, their presence in Parliament, personal sacrifice and ultimately their empowerment.

Aliki Saragas completed her undergraduate Bachelor of Arts Dramatic Arts degree cum laude, at the University of the Witwatersrand, majoring in screenwriting and film studies. At Wits she was chosen as one of two students to be a part of the North South South Exchange Programme with students from South African film institutions, NAFTI (Ghana) and Arcada (Finland), to produce two documentaries, one in South Africa, Jozi: No Brakes and one in Finland, Tyttärelleni Taika Kukalle (To My Daughter Taika Kuka), where she lived on exchange for three months. It was here that she realised her passion for telling real stories.

Subsequently she edited, Jozi: No Brakes, a film about BMX subculture in Johannesburg which won the audience award at Arcada’s Egil Galan awards ceremony (Finland) in 2012, as well as the silver award at AFDA’s award ceremony 2012. During her undergraduate degree, she wrote and edited, Caesura, which won best experimental at the University of the Witwatersrand Tele Awards (2012). Rise, a documentary about overcoming post-natal depression, which Saragas edited and directed, was screened at the Labia Independent Art Cinema in 2013. Rise was screened at Cinemuse in Stellenbosch (2013) and was selected for the Sonke Gender Institute’s workshop Sex Through the Lens: Transforming Gender Attitudes Through Film. For the last two years, Saragas has interned at SaltPeter Productions in Cape Town with Simon Wood, where she has assisted in the research of his new documentary film, Untamed. She recently completed her MA Documentary Arts at UCT with distinction.

This MA version of the film is being made into a feature length version with with multiple award-winning creators of Miners Shot Down, Uhuru Productions, which will be released in 2016.

Coming from a Greek South African heritage, Saragas’s identity has always been a complex interlace of culture, which has the opportunity to constantly be questioned and explored in documentary filmmaking.

The screening, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker, will take place at Hiddingh Hall, University of Cape Town (UCT) Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town on Wednesday 20 May 2015. Refreshments will be served from 17:30.

No booking is necessary and all are welcome.

Photo credit: Jared Paisley

Download the Aliki Saragas audio recording