'Blood must spill today' - A leader begged them to disperse
THE rock hill was a haven for the Marikana protesters.
They treated it like a shrine. Caps and hats were not allowed, nor women. No smoking (Babylon sticks) or African herb (marijuana) was allowed. This was where rituals were performed to prepare warriors for the fight of their lives.
The scene played into the hands of colonial history and the military strategy of African people - the Bambatha Rebellion, Moshoeshoe I on a mountain rock, Thaba Bosiu, Sekhukhune on a rock hill, all fighting arrogant foreign invaders.
These rock hills were a powerful symbol that linked them to their past, where they became nostalgic and resentful.
They spoke about the African land, how its resources were pillaged and, like their forefathers, they were prepared to die defending their land.
"Today we will die here on this sacred ground," yelled one worker into the megaphone, to rapturous applause.
Earlier in the day, around 3pm, AMCU president Vusimuzi Mathunjwa told the striking workers that NUM and the management of Lonmin wanted to see blood being spilt.
"We were told that the situation is now under the national security and that this is now a security zone.
"What this means is that this situation is now in the hands of the police.
"The police will have their way. They can do whatever they want. In fact, let me not mince words - blood must spill today. That's what they want," he announced through the megaphone.
"This is a gathering where blood will spill." He then knelt and begged the workers to disperse peacefully.
"The employer wants to run from the truth. He wants you killed because he says you are lawless rogues. NUM wants to say these people were killed after AMCU spoke to them. This is politics. They want us to carry the blame.
"So they will kill you today and get other people to work in your place tomorrow and they will get them cheaply. It does not bother them. It is the capitalist who will win today."
Mathunjwa quoted from the Bible and then left swiftly, almost fighting tears.
The police were treated to a free meal and drinks before being briefed.
SAPS national spokesperson Captain Dennis Adriao rounded up the media before the attack and told us they were now entering a "tactical phase".
When asked what he meant," he responded in police semantic: "We're going to disarm the protesters. We're going to take their weapons.
"We've accommodated them for three days now. Now it's time to disarm them."
He informed us that our safety was not guaranteed. Minutes later, the "tactical phase" turned bloody, just as Mathunjwa said it would. Barbed wire was rolled out and then fire.