A man and a country on trial.

My daughter and her partner visited South Africa last month. It was a first time for him. They came back overwhelmed. The beauty of the country. The restaurants, the food, the service, the people. Boyfriend in particular spoke of how much he liked Johannesburg, against all expectations. I was gratified. I love Johannesburg.

For a day or two I was miffed. How could I have ever left? Had I made a mistake?

And then an email from a family member who mentioned casually that my father’s widow and her sister had been raped, badly beaten and burgled – these are women in their late sixties and early seventies. This happened sometime last year but apparently it wasn’t of sufficient interest to mention before. After all, they had survived. He had only thought to mention it as the perpetrators had been apprehended and were appearing in court that very week.

I am told the ladies have handled the trauma very well. My mother-in-law, when identifying her assailant and following instructions to touch him on the left shoulder with her left hand, had followed through with a ‘snotklap’ to his face, that had all but dropped him to his knees. Good for her.

I remembered why I left. And I got to thinking.

About Oscar Pistorius.

There are many issues on trial here. Violence against women being one of them. Like many people I have thought him guilty as all hell. But then again, having left South Africa years ago, in fear, I have no idea what it is like to live on the edge. To expect violence at every turn.

Oscar is on trial, but so is South Africa.

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7 Responses to A man and a country on trial.

  1. Pussycat44 says:

    I loved the snotklap! Good reaction.
    Leaving one’s country of birth will always be a gamble. We had good times as a family with 5 kids after leaving Holland for SA, but now that the parents have gone and we have our own families things are not so good anymore. Two siblings have emigrated and some nephews and nieces have done the same.
    I only follow the OP court case online and it’s early days yet to decide what the verdict could/should be.

  2. That guy deserved more than a snotklap, but I’m sure your MiL felt better. Good for her. I’m going up to Jo’burg tomorrow, for a week. My daughter lives behind high walls and electric security fence, and still has armed response. Not a great way to live. I really don’t believe that Reeva’s murder had anything to do with with Oscar feeling insecure, but you’re right about South Africa being on trial. The police investigators are being scrutinised by the whole world, and our justice system has to get this one right.

  3. optie says:

    South Africa is indeed a land of contradictions, glad your daughter and her partner enjoyed their visit, the exchange rate would have definitely been in their favour. I wonder if the Dewani trial will be televised seeing as he is going to be extradited to SA next month.

    • footsy2 says:

      I saw that and I imagine that it will be televised. Disgusting business. You okay Optie? I am following blogs, but not inspired to write. England does that to me 🙂

  4. Ruth2Day says:

    yowzers, would so have enjoyed seeing that lump of crap taking a smack. At work we have the Oscar trial on the TV nearly all day. It’s amazing the different points of view uttered by colleagues, those for and those against. I think MIL could well do going to give Oscar a snotklap!

  5. colonialist says:

    Say what one likes, the lifestyle in SA has become one of violence and fear for everyone who doesn’t keep their heads firmly in the sand. It is amazing what one can come to regard as normal.
    As for Oscar, sheer logic tells one that the intruder story is a lot of hogwash. The evidence is much in favour of a furious argument followed by ungovernable rage.

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