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Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows on the world, ''Lighthouses'' as the poet said ''erected in the sea of time.'' They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print. 
Arthur Schopenhauer

May 13, 2014

The Griekwastad Murders: The Crime that Shook South Africa

By Jacques Steenkamp

The Griekwastad Murders

Product Details:
Author: Jacques Steenkamp
Subtitle: The crime that shook South Africa
Format: Paperback
Imprint: Zebra
Publisher: Random House Struik
ISBN: 9781770225480


Click here for the Afrikaans version (Die Griekwastad Moorde)

Jacques Steenkamp is one of the best hard-news journalists in South Africa and has reported on nearly a hundred murders. His contacts and sources uniquely qualify him to investigate and expose the truth behind the Griekwastad Murders. Steenkamp is the recipient of several journalism and photography awards over the years, including the 2010 Scoop of the Year Award from the national Media24 Legends Awards.

The following report was sourced from TimesLive:

Boy who killed in cold blood
Lin Sampson | 13 May, 2014 00:03

After dusk on April 6 2012, a Good Friday, in Griekwastad in the Northern Cape, a youth arrived at the local police station, covered in blood shouting: "You must come. They've been shot. They are all dead."

So begins the strange and sinister story documented by Jacques Steenkamp in The Griekwastad Murders: The Crime that Shook South Africa.

Don Steenkamp (no relation to the author) - a 15-year-old national tent-pegging champion, a scholar at Grey College in Bloemfontein and a regular churchgoer - said his parents and his sister had been shot during an invasion of their Naauwhoek farm while he was in the barn.

Four months later, the evidence pointed to an even more disturbing possibility - the boy did it.

On August 21, Jacques received a text that the teenager had been arrested for the murders of his parents, Deon and Christelle, and the rape and murder of his sister, Marthella.

Amid the ensuing media frenzy, Jacques tried to get the full story , interviewing as many of the family' s relatives as he could.

A story unfolded of murder, deception and lies in an isolated town in a forlorn landscape. An unimaginable horror had managed to take root, culminating in the massacre of a wealthy and respected family.

After the boy was granted bail, he stayed with friends, took part in national gymkhana tournaments, rode his dead sister's horse and maintained a cool, calm exterior.

When the court case started almost two years later, Jacques noticed that the teenager had roving eyes.

He wrote: "I had regularly seen him checking out a woman's behind or cleavage, even in court."

In court, the boy was assertive and confident, almost emotionless. He never stammered nor tripped over his words, even when the prosecution caught him in a lie .

The trial went on for months due to the many postponements the prosecution procured.

Much of the evidence was blood-curdling. A neighbour, who was the first to stumble on the scene, testified that when he arrived, the dogs' snouts were sticky with congealed human blood.

Northern Cape Judge President Frans Kgomo ruled that the boy had killed his entire family to cover up his sexual abuse of his sister.

While the book makes for a compelling and frightening read, it does seem driven by the desire to be the first book on the shelves.

Sourced from: TimesLive

Related Post:

Feb 20, 2014

Weep for Africa: A Rhodesian Light Infantry Paratrooper's Farewell to Innocence

Published: February, 2014
Weep for Africa
Product Details
Author: Jeremy Hall
Publisher: Helion and Company
Paperback: 352 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1909982334
ISBN-13: 978-1909982338


Book Description
Jeremy Hall’s childhood in the white-ruled apartheid South Africa of the 1950s and ’60s was ostensibly idyllic: growing up in the farming areas of Natal, he had free rein to pander to his keen exploratory mind, yet niggling away was entrenched racism and interracial hatred. Closeted in the hallowed halls of an English-speaking high school, the revelation of the real world that followed – a world of township unrest, Afrikaner politicians issuing dire warnings of the red and black hordes massing on the borders – exploded into Hall’s psyche with his national-service call-up into the South African Defense Force (SADF), where he encountered the institutionalized hatred of the Afrikaner hierarchy for the English-speaking recruits, the rowe, or ‘scabs’. 

Disillusioned and unsettled, following his SADF conscription, Hall found himself in 1976 signing on for three years with 2 Commando The Rhodesian Light Infantry as the bush war in that country erupted from a simmering, low-key insurgency into full-blown war. As a paratrooper with this crack airborne unit, he was to see continual combat on Fireforce operations and cross-border raids into Zambia and Mozambique, such as Operation Dingo, the 1977 Rhodesian attack on ZANLA’s Chimoio base.

Author's Web Site: Weep For Africa

Jan 15, 2014

New light on Nelson Mandela's autobiography

Long Walk To Freedom
By Stephen Ellis
13 January 2014

Stephen Ellis on the significance of the recent release of the late ANC leader's draft autobiography, smuggled out of Robben Island in 1977


A new light is now shining on Nelson Mandela's political biography and on the history of South Africa as the result of the release of an important document by the Mandela Centre of Memory.

The document in question is a 627-page typescript that seems to have been placed online just a few days before Mandela's death in December 2013.  Why the Centre of Memory decided to place such an important and even explosive text online at that juncture is unclear.  The Centre made no attempt to publicize the move, for example by announcing the publication on its homepage (see the Centre's response here - Editor).

The document that can now be consulted by internet users here is a draft autobiography that was secretly handwritten by Mandela in Robben Island prison before being smuggled out, typed up, and handed to Yusuf Dadoo, chairman of the South African Communist Party, in August 1977.  This was the document that was re-worked in the years after Mandela's release from prison to form the basis for Long Walk to Freedom, the best-selling autobiography published in 1994.

It is clear from even a quick read that the prison manuscript, on which Mandela started work in 1974, is the product of a collective effort since it is strewn with editorial notes.  To judge from information already in the public domain, the original editorial team that got to work on Robben Island included, in addition to Mandela himself, Ahmed Kathrada, Walter Sisulu and Mac Maharaj.  The manuscript was originally intended as an inspiration to potential readers to join the fight against apartheid.

Dec 10, 2013

Lothar Neethling – 'n lewe vertel

Lothar Neethling – 'n lewe vertel

Hoe skryf 'n mens met eerlikheid oor jou omstrede broer, wat eintlik geen bloedfamilie van jou was nie?

In hierdie biografie vertel die Pretoriase akademikus en skrywer Annette Jordaan die storie van haar ouboet Lothar Neethling, wat voor haar geboorte deur haar ouers aangeneem is.

Lothar Neethling – 'n lewe vertel is die storie van die polisie se slim en gewilde forensiese deskundige wat sy naam verdedig teen beweringe dat hy middels voorsien het om mense aan die slaap te maak of te vermoor. Hy wen uiteindelik die saak oor “die ergste naamskending denkbaar”, maar sy openbare beeld kry 'n skadu, en vrae en wanopvattings bly tot ná sy dood spook, met pynlike gevolge vir sy naasbestaandes.

Die storie begin in die oorloggeteisterde Duitsland, toe Paul Tietz geveg het en sy vrou Hedwig en haar kinders voor die Russiese leër uit moes vlug. Lothar was die oudste en het die dood van twee boeties en twee sussies beleef. Die jongste boetie is deur die tienjarige Lothar en sy agtjarige broertjie in kardoespapier toegedraai en in 'n woud begrawe.

Lothar Tietz se storie is een van pyn, angs, honger en verantwoordelikheid. As die oudste moes hy vir die voortvlugtende gesin kos vind. Uiteindelik is albei ouers dood, en op 11 September 1948 begin 'n nuwe lewe vir die 13-jarige seun en sy oorlewende broer en suster, toe hulle saam met 80 ander Duitse weeskinders in Suid-Afrika aankom.