THERE’S lots of aggro at the platinum mine, all kinds of people stirring it up. All kinds of hidden agendas. Some horrific violence. Lots of boozing; quite a bit of sex. Plenty of disturbing underground action.

This flies from the keyboard of my old newspaper colleague Pixie Emslie (Pixie Malherbe in the days I knew her).

No, Pixie isn’t writing for one of our more august financial papers about the Marikana hassles (though she almost could be), this is a novel based on her experience of the mining industry, where she produced magazines for various companies.

Cry of the Rocks (Strategic Book Publishing) is fiction. The police break up a couple of bar brawls, they don’t open fire on strikers. Ju-Ju doesn’t feature. The NUM is there but the breakaway union is not.

Yet parallels with Marikana uncannily are there – the dreadful conditions underground, the constant danger; the proliferation of shanty slums in the post-apartheid era; the manipulation of the workforce; the overseas financial dimension.

Where Marikana has dodgy trade unionists, dead-beat politicians and unsophisticated workers, Pixie introduces a criminal twist with an international dimension – kidnapping, extortion, sabotage. And, of course, some pretty harrowing underground stuff. The plot gets very tight toward the end.

Do the good guys win? I’m not tellin’ ya!

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