After Marikana: The State, the ANC, and the Future of the Labor Movement in South Africa

Monday, May 18, 2015
2:00 - 5:00pm
UCLA History Conference Room | 6275 Bunche

Discussants: Trevor Ngwane| University of Johannesburg, Department of Sociology

                       Gay Seidman | University of Wisconsin, Department of Sociology

                       Dinga Sikwebu | Johannesburg, United Front Coordinator of the NUMSA



About the Talk:

The colloquium will be devoted to the crises and conflicts that have wracked the labor movement in South Africa in recent years and the implications of these struggles for the future of South African politics. In 2012, police from the African National Congress (ANC) government gunned down 44 striking platinum workers in what has come to be known as the Marikana massacre, a watershed moment for South Africa’s politics and its trade unions.


The speakers will consider the historic strike by 70,000 Association of Mineworkers and Construction Workers (AMCU) that ensued, the internecine battles that have been taking place among the different sections of COSATU trade union federation, and the intense factional strife between the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and other sections of the trade union movement that has issued in NUMSA’s expulsion from COSATU.


NUMSA has now initiated a call for what it terms a united front, not only to build a new workers party to stand in national elections, but also to forge links between the struggles of productive and reproductive struggles that would better connect organized labor with the “service delivery protests” of poor, heavily immigrant workers. No less than the future of the South African workers movement and the nature the South African state are at stake.



About the Speakers:


Trevor Ngwane

Trevor Ngwane is a founder of the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee and the Anti-privatization movement.
He was a long time activist against the Apartheid regime.

Gay Seidman

Gay Seidman is the author of Manufacturing Militance: Workers’ Movements in Brazil and South Africa, 1970-1985, (1994) and Beyond the Boycott: Labor Rights, Human Rights and Transnational Activism (2007) and “Guerrillas in their Midst: Armed Struggle in the South African Anti-Apartheid Movement,” Mobilization (Fall 2001). She has written widely on the critical participation of women in the anti-Apartheid and labor movements in South Africa.

Dinga Sikwebu
Dinga Sikwebu is the United Front Coordinator of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa. He has taught in the Sociology Department at the University of Witwatersrand.



This event is presented by the UCLA Center for Social Theory and Comparative History & Center for African Studies and African Studies IDP; cosponsored with the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment