Pretoria: Government has encouraged South Africans to observe and participate in memorial activities that have been planned throughout the country.
Thirty-four people were killed and 78 others sustained injuries in clashes with police last week at Marikana. Prior to this, 10 other people — including two police officers — were killed.
The President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma has declared Thursday as the official day for memorial services to be held to mourn and promote a violence-free society.
“Our nation is currently in a period of national mourning, from 20-26 August 2012, to commemorate the lives of all South Africans who have died violently, especially the 44 lives lost in the Marikana incidents in the North West Province,” said a statement released by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).
The main memorial service in Marikana is already underway with several Cabinet ministers attending.
The service is being held under a white marque, a short distance from the koppie where miners had gathered before the shooting last Thursday.
The community around the area has come out in large numbers to attend the memorial service. Outside the marquee police maintained a strong presence.
Provinces will be holding memorial services today as part of a nationwide period of mourning.
The Executive Councils, representatives of political organisations, traditional leaders, business, labour, faith-based organisations, civil society structures as well as members of the public will be attending the services.
Participation in the memorial services and observing the week of mourning helps ease the sense of loss and pain experienced in the country.
From Monday until Sunday, all the flags in the country and in missions outside the country will fly at half-mast in recognition of the period of mourning declared by President Jacob Zuma.