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A model’s murder, a gang rape, a taxi driver dragged to death: Brutality is hardly a thing of South Africa’s past

Oscar Pistorius in court
AP Photo/Themba Hadebe
Everyone is focused on Oscar Pistorius’ fame. But let’s examine the violence of a nation.
Cape TownPublished Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

I could not help thinking of Steve Biko when I heard of the death of the Mozambican taxi driver.  A video of him being dragged behind a police van went viral this week. It was not because the man was a freedom fighter, but like Biko, the black consciousness leader, he also died after being left for dead in a police cell after being tortured.

Police officers arresting Mido Macia, 27, a taxi driver in Mozambique. The man is chained to the police van, and then dragged behind the van. Two hours later, he was found dead in custody with severe head injuries.

Similarly, people liken the images of the Marikana massacre, when striking miners were shot at by police, to the Sharpville massacre of 1960. And the murder charges against athlete Oscar Pistorius, along with the gang rape and murder of 17-year-old Anene Booysen, highlight the country’s problems with gender violence. Such brutality and violence betray South Africa’s progress and just how far we are from escaping our violent past. There is something very wrong with this rainbow nation begotten from a peaceful settlement and lauded internationally.

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