The ongoing annual Ditshwanelo Human Rights Film Festival prominently features the predicament of former migrant mine workers in apartheid South Africa.
Currently, the centre is assisting them to form a Mineworkers’ Association, according to information from the organisation.
A communiqué from the centre states that the aim of the association would be to help ex-miners deal with issues and aftermaths of having worked in the mines. In its press statement on the 15th Annual Human Rights Film Festival, Ditswanelo emphasises the need to accelerate efforts to assist ex-miners who contracted silicosis and other diseases, such as tuberculosis from working in the apartheid mines in South Africa. To highlight this message, the festival’s closing film that screens on Thursday, Miners Shot Down, pieces together the events, which transpired in the Marikana massacre.
“The post-screening discussion will be facilitated by Rehad Desai the director of the film, Mzoxolo Magidwana a Marikana miner who was shot during the strike, Jabukani Mzozo a filmmaker and Interpreter, Professor Mogalakwe from the University of Botswana Sociology Department and Mosoba Radikoko a member of the Botswana Mineworkers Association,” according to Ditswanelo.
Radikoko is part of the Silicosis Mine Compensation Programme which Ditshwanelo has been running for the past three years. He was selected with a few others who will represent the collective, explained project coordinator Kitso Phiri.
At the official opening of the festival on April 7, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu, who officially opened the festival commended the centre on its efforts towards assisting marginalised groups and for advocating for human rights in and around Botswana.
“Botswana is committed to uplifting human rights through a people-centred approach to sustainable development, which can only be achieved by ensuring that human rights is central to conceptualisation, planning, programming and implementation of all government development works,” he said. Other pertinent issues addressed in the festival are that of anti-sexual orientation discrimination, freedom of association, as well as indigenous people’s rights.
Tracks Across the Sand, a film, which deals with the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Southern Africa, showcased yesterday to amplify the rights of the subject.
A South Africa human rights lawyer, Roger Chennells, will facilitate post-screening discussions. Chennells won the Basarwa case, which the film discusses, in addition to having practiced widely in the fields of labour, environmental, human rights to commercial and constitutional law.
“Tomorrow in the evening, the film Orania, which deals with issues of Freedom of Association will be screened. On April 15 the film ISIS: ‘Islamic’ Extremism, which tackles the issue of religious extremism will be screened,” according to Ditshwanelo.