I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve flipped on Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’ predicament. Initially, I thought he was innocent and had shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp accidentally two years ago. Many South Africans have died under similar circumstances, given the country’s high crime rate.
Pistorius is a rich man, or was at the time and would have been a target for robbery. It’s safe to say that South Africa faces more armed robbery cases than the rest of Africa combined and that explains why many people have guns. That is why I believed Pistorius’ account that he had thought he was shooting an intruder.
Then the premeditated murder accusations surfaced and the ensuing court drama had even me doubting his story. What if he was just an arrogant, spoilt and jealous lover who didn’t think twice about shooting his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day of all days? Being a woman, that struck a chord.
Often, we’re the ones at the receiving end of domestic abuse and violence and that could have been anyone’s daughter or sister. So I switched allegiance to Reeva’s family. They had lost a child in brutal circumstances and it was especially sad because she was young, beautiful with dreams she never fully realized, killed not by a thug but her own boyfriend.
How tragic. Fast forward and my sympathies are back with Pistorius. I still feel terrible for Reeva’s family but deep down, I don’t believe Oscar is a murderer. I could be wrong and like everyone following this case, I wish the truth would come out somehow but I don’t think we’ll ever know.
Some people are angry that someone who in their opinion committed murder was given special treatment. It does appear so and were it an ordinary person, they would have served a longer sentence. I understand that but I also feel like Pistorius has lost everything. His fame, money and career are all gone.
He likely won’t compete again and to take that away from him is punishment enough. He’s broke and even had to sell his house to cover his legal bills. He may find something else to do and who knows, he may even get some money with time but I don’t think he’ll ever attain the level of celebrity and success he had before the unfortunate events of 2013.
I was amused by media reports of the “Mansion Arrest” in reference to the storied house where he will serve out the rest of his sentence under House Arrest. Would critics have less to say if he were homeless or lived in a Soweto slum? Some people are lucky enough to have well-to-do relatives.
His uncle with whom he’ll be staying just happens to have a nice house. Are we seriously going to blame him for that too? Unless Pistorius bought the house in the first place, which is not necessarily a bad thing since it’s the same society that urges those with the means to help their relatives.
If Pistorius chose to help his uncle when the money was still flowing, it’s only fitting that the favour is returned.