Hymns rang out in mourning Thursday for those killed in South Africa's bloodiest police action since apartheid, as President Jacob Zuma unveiled a wide-ranging probe into the unrest.
MARIKANA- "We are shocked as a nation about what happened. None of us ever thought it would happen again," Anglican Bishop Johannes Seoka told the thousands of people gathered near Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine.
Police gunned down 34 miners one week ago during a wildcat strike that had already left eight other workers and two policemen dead.
After the bishop's remarks, the crowd burst into an apartheid-era Zulu funeral song, "Senzeni na", which means "What have we done?"
"Police and soldiers, what have we done to be killed?" the crowd sang.
Police kept their distance as tensions still ran high among workers, with security remarkably lighter than the heavy forces deployed here for more than a week.
"We don't want to see police today, they must stay far away," said Nkosinathi, a Lonmin miner who declined to give his last name for fear of reprisal.
"They bring back very ugly, very painful memories, they must move away."
Notably absent were politicians, who kept away to allow religious leaders to conduct the proceedings.
Instead, Zuma used the day to name one of the country's top legal minds, retired judge Ian Farlam, to head a wide-ranging commission of inquiry into not only the unrest but the labour conditions that fomented the unrest.
Mineworkers' strikes have turned increasingly violent this year. A key focus of the investigation will likely be the rivalry between the upstart Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) and the powerful National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).
But platinum giant Lonmin, the unions, police and government agencies will also be forced to answer questions on whether they did anything to defuse the tension at the mine before it escalated into violence.
The inquiry will investigate any police orders to shoot, and whether the use of force was "reasonable and justifiable", said Zuma.
Police are also investigating the killings, while the independent police watchdog is looking into the conduct of the officers who opened fire at the crowd that was armed mainly with spears, clubs and machetes.
Lonmin and the nearby Impala Platinum mine closed to allow workers to attend the memorial, the centrepiece of ceremonies held across the country, as many of the victims were migrant workers whose bodies have already been returned to their home villages.
The other major service was in Mthatha, in the rural Eastern Cape province, that was home to 28 of the 34 killed by police.
Grief engulfed the Methodist church hall, with relatives of the dead weeping and wailing loudly.
"The Marikana massacre must be a lesson. It must unite the workers across the country to fight for equality," Mthatha Mayor Dingaani Myolo said.
The violence has been blamed on the rivalry between an aggressive AMCU seeking to gain membership from a dominant NUM, one of the country's most influential unions and a major ally of the ruling African National Congress.
About 3,000 rock drill operators have spearheaded the strike at Lonmin, which employs a total of 28,000 people at Marikana. The drillers also appear to be at the centre of disputes at nearby mines.
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant held talks with the AMCU late Tuesday, but she reported little movement on the strikers' demand for a monthly wage of 12,500 rand ($1,500, 1,200 euros).
They say they currently earn 4,000 rand. Lonmin says that if bonuses and other perks are included, the rock drillers earn around 11,000 rand, with a nine-percent increase set to take effect in October.