The stain of the slain……….

Saturday the 16th August 2014, is a date marked by the most egregious stain in the otherwise beautiful history of our young democracy.

There are clearly differences as to what – or who – led to what has become known as the Marikana massacre, but no right-thinking human being can dispute that that the tragedy should not have been allowed to happen.

We may have to wait a while longer for the Farlam Commission of Inquiry to deliver its report and even then we may never get to the bottom of what happened. But while some aspects of the terrible events of the dark episode remain murky, the undisputed facts are that this sad chapter in our history deepened already existing divisions in the mining sector and our society as a whole.

Blood was spilt, families lost breadwinners, husbands, sons and daughters.

As we dip our heads and remember this sad moment we should all do so with the aim of mending instead of deepening division.

We can do this by accepting the truth that all sides of the divide lost lives and the relative peace that prevailed before.

The words uttered at the commission this week by a widow of one of the police officers killed in the violence carry a pertinent reminder for all of us: “We all lost husbands,” she said, aiming her words to the “other side”.

The Marikana massacre was a loss for all of us. South Africa was left with a gaping, horrible wound which we cannot afford to let fester. We need to play our part in the healing that has happened.