For the miners, the idea that unity might bring a measure of success in wage demands, as happened in Marikana, is motivating those who otherwise would have given up by now. Many face the prospect of hunger if the strike is unresolved, and without a regular salary they will be unable to pay rent for their lodgings. But they feel that their demands have a better chance of getting met in the immediate aftermath of the Marikana incident.
This week the Congress of South African Trade Unions, or COSATU, and the National Union of Mineworkers said in a joint statement that the Marikana deal, however good, set a bad precedent by undermining what they called "collective bargaining."
COSATU and NUM have seen their authority eroded by the uncontrolled spread of illegal strikes. An Anglican priest helped negotiate the Marikana deal and many miners bypassed unions by selecting their own representatives to deal with management.
"Lonmin should have known that getting wage negotiations to be facilitated by the churches and allowing everybody, no matter their legal status, to play a role in the negotiations will create precedents that they will not be willing to repeat anywhere else," said the statement from COSATU and NUM.
Bishop Joe Seoka, the Anglican priest mediated the Marikana deal, told The Associated Press Thursday that threatening strikers with eviction "is not the way to go." Even though the fact that some miners are carrying out copy-cat strikes of the Marikana unrest is now a problem, with trust and mutual respect the Marikana agreement can be replicated at other mines where workers are on strike, the cleric said, adding that striking miners are often angry "because they have been let down by so many people."
"The first thing to do in this situation is to try and calm people down," he said.
For striking gold miners in Orkney, Marikana looms large and remains a source of inspiration.
J.R. Sefudi, who works at AngloGold Ashanti, vowed: "We are not going back on this."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.