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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 3 of Episode 56

16:08 Like a pack of sharks who smelled blood, this is how a Truth Commission lawyer has described killers of American student Amy Biehl. Biehl was attacked and killed by members of the Pan Africanist Student Organisation in Gugulethu near Cape Town in August 1993. This week her murderers asked for forgiveness from her family and friends and claimed a political motive for their roles in her death. Full Transcript and References
16:33The 25th of August 1993 starts out as an ordinary day in Cape Town, but the townships around the city are in a state of political tension as a result of student and teacher protests. On this day, PASO the PAC’s Students’ Organisation is re-launched at Langa High. Fiery political speeches are made by local PAC leaders; emotions run high. After the meeting a large crowd ends up in the nearby township of Gugulethu. Meanwhile American Fulbright student, Amy Biehl who worked as a researcher at the University of the Western Cape is driving through Gugulethu giving three black colleagues a lift home. Then the white woman is spotted by the enflamed group and two worlds collide. At the end of sustained stoning and stabbing, Amy Biehl is dead.Full Transcript
17:42Her young killers have maintained their innocence up to now, but this week Ntobeko Peni, Easy Nofemela and Vusumi Ntamo and Mongezi Manqina told the TRC’s Amnesty Committee in chilling detail why they participated in this horrific attack.Full Transcript
18:06When the PASO executive members ordered us to go out and prepare the groundwork for APLA and to make the township ungovernable I regarded this as an instruction to also harm, injure and kill white people. When I saw that the driver of the vehicle which we had stoned and which had come to a standstill was a white person I immediately asked one of the comrades in the crowd for a knife. For me this was an opportunity to put into practice the slogan ‘one settler, one bullet.’Full Transcript
18:43Manqina admitted for the first time that he inflicted the fatal stab wound to Amy’s heart, In his affidavit Vusumi Ntamo claims that though he’s mentally handicapped he was nonetheless a faithful follower of PASO. // Even after Manqina had stabbed Amy I still threw stones at her, at least another four or five stones. I threw stones at her because she was a settler.Full Transcript
19:20If you did hear from the passengers that she was also a Comrade, that day, would you have acted any differently? // I don’t think so. // Can you elaborate? // At the time, we were in very high spirits and the white people were oppressive. We had no mercy on the white people; a white person was a white person to our eyes.Full Transcript
20:04You see, what I’m going to suggest to you Mr. Nofemela that the attack and brutal murder of Amy Biehl could not have been done with a political objective. It was wanton brutality, like a pack of sharks smelling blood. Isn’t that the truth? // No, that’s not true, we are not such things.Full Transcript
20:43When I look closely at what I did I realize that it was bad. I took part in killing someone that we could have used to achieve our own aims. Amy was one of the people who could have in an international sense worked for our country. I ask Amy’s parents, // Amy’s friends, relatives, I ask them to forgive me.Full Transcript
21:2oLinda and Peter Beal showed little emotion as they listened to their daughter’s killers, but their pledged their support for the Truth and Reconciliation process. // We unabashedly support the process which we recognize to be unprecedented in contemporary human history. // The Biehl’s who say they are committed to continuing Amy’s work for women’s rights in South Africa spend most of Friday with the Mosaic Women’s Group of Gugulethu. They’ve come to terms with Amy’s death, but still find it hard to believe that she died just two days before she was due to return home to California. Full Transcript
22:02You know when you heard it you thought it was absolutely impossible, here she was ready to come home in two days and of all the times she’s been in and out of Africa the last four or five years that this happened. And I think, you know, we were totally devastated… // What Linda says is true. If we hadn’t been expecting Amy in a couple of days it might not have been such a shock. // Things that she had talked about and expressed opinions about sort of started to come through us. // Is that why you decided not to oppose the amnesty application, is it because that’s the way Amy would have wanted you to deal with it. // Ja, exactly. Amy had prepared us in the sense that she said that mom and dad, you can’t blame these young African people for doing what’s been done to them for decades, come on. // Ja the brutalisation. // So, believe me Amy’s words were very much in our minds in approaching the TRC and this whole process. // I just remembered from the very beginning and one ...moreFull Transcript
23:48When we left Peter and Linda Biehl at Gugulethu we came to the site where their daughter had been attacked. Only these dried out flowers serve as a reminder of Amy Biehl’s brutal killing here at NY1, Gugulethu four years ago, an act which the Amnesty Committee now has to decide was either a politically inspired murder or a racial one.Full Transcript
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