In South Africa violence is present and disregarded across the country. The victims of this violence are black, coloured, Indian, and white, women and men, rich and poor, famous and unknown. While the stories of Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp deserve attention, there are other poignant personal histories across this spectrum of experience that are ignored, and have been ignored for decades. Surely such stories deserve real attention as well. Not a matter-of-fact reporting of time, place, and cause of death, but real attention; in narratives as penetrating and rich as is necessitated by the lives they represent.
By now most of you are familiar with the tragic Valentine's day killing of Reeva Steenkamp by Oscar Pistorius, South Africa's famed "Blade Runner." Pistorius's claim that he mistook Reeva Steenkamp for a burglar, shooting her through a bathroom door, has left me full of questions. He knew that his girlfriend was in the house -- she had fallen asleep in the bed beside him. Why then he did not first assume what seems most rational -- that it was his girlfriend in the bathroom making the noise? Why didn't he verify that his girlfriend was not safe in bed beside him? Or even turn on a single light?