Mining is huge in South Africa. You may be aware of the gold and diamond mines there — the country is quite famous for those. But South Africa is also big on mining coal, chrome, manganese, and platinum.

Workers held a strike last week to protest conditions at a platinum mine northwest of Johannesburg. On Thursday, the protest got out of control. Police opened fire.

In the end, 34 were killed and at least 78 wounded. Police arrested 259 miners — who are facing a hearing today, in fact.

Here are a few front pages from Friday and Saturday. First, Beeld, the 73,344-circulation Johannesburg daily:


Friday’s huge headline reads:


Saturday’s paper features a three-step graphic built atop aerial photos and the headline:

This leads to carnage

That simple diagram was built by Jaco Grobbelaar of Graphics24 — the in-house agency that provides graphics for Media24’s newspapers around the country and the group with which I’ve done so much work over the past three years.

Graphics editor Andre Gouws tells me:

We got aerial shots from the police on Friday afternoon and used these to show how the shooting happened.

Here’s an English translation…

…but here, I’ve broken that up into a vertical version so you can read it better.

Meanwhile, here were Friday and Saturday front pages from die Burger, Media24’s 59,808-circulation  flagship paper in Cape Town.


Friday’s front is built around an extraordinary photo of the massacre as it happened. The headline:

18 dead in 3 minutes

Saturday’s front shows investigators collecting evidence at the scene. The headline:

Here, they fell

And from the 20,000-circulation English-language Witness of Pietermaritzburg — where I spent the Thursday and Friday of the week before all this happened — here are the Friday and Saturday fronts.


For the big national papers — Rapport (Afrkaans) and City Press (English), Graphics 24 built a more elaborate diagram. Andre tells me:

Rudi Louw drove out to the scene (100km, around 60 miles, from Johannesburg), took pictures, looked at the site, got a feel for the context – and came up with this one.

There’s an aerial picture with a diagram superimposed atop, eight vignette pictures and a locator. Click for a larger view:

Andre writes:

Great work I think.

I think so, too.

Interesting angles about this story from the Media24 papers: