"Strike a rock" brings women's voices to the screen
Strike a Rock, the feature length version of Aliki Saragas’s Master of Documentary Arts graduation film, has been selected for two prestigious festivals in 2017. For its local premiere, it will be the opening night film at Encounters International Documentary Film Festival on 1 June; and for its international premiere it will screen at Sheffield International Documentary Film Festival on 11 June. The Centre for Film and Media Studies is very proud that the film had its genesis in the Master of Documentary Arts programme, and believe that it sets the bar for what graduates of the programme can achieve.
Saragas is a South African documentary filmmaker and photographer based in Johannesburg. After completing her MADA at UCT cum laude, in 2015 she started her own documentary production company, Elafos Productions, to champion women’s stories. Saragas recognised the need to emphasise complex and strong roles for women both in front of and behind the lens.
About the film
Strike A Rock is the story of two South African mothers and best friends, Primrose Sonti and Thumeka Magwangqana. They live in Nkaneng, Marikana, an informal settlement in rural South Africa that sprung up around a mine operated by Lonmin Plc, the third largest platinum extractor in the world. This company has significant legal obligations to the community that they mine under and around, but does not comply with all their responsibilities.
This community became internationally known after the 2012 Marikana Massacre, when 37 striking mineworkers were killed by police. However, instead of improving, the living conditions that motivated the strike in the first place continue to worsen. And this is what Primrose and Thumeka are fighting against.
Photo credit: Andreas Georghiou
These two inspiring women formed a women’s organisation, Sikhala Sonke (We Cry Together), after their friend Paulina was killed by police. Over time we see them grow into two different leaders in the search for social and economic justice. Primrose’s ambition lands her a seat in Parliament with a new, radical opposition party. But to take up the post she must leave Marikana. Thumeka, left behind, faces her fears as she picks up the reigns of the resistance as a community leader, and challenges Lonmin Plc in a landmark complaint against them. In a deeply personal journey, can these two women take on the goliath composed of high powered enemies that appear to collude against the people of Marikana, and at the same time maintain a friendship that is threatening to break under the weight of this pressure?