Yesterday I watched SABC news (as I often do). Almost every evening a number of court cases are reported. Of course the most famous:
Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison for the culpable homicide (manslaughter) of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
according to Channel 4 (where one can get the whole story).
Another well-known case is about Shrien Dewani who allegedly plotted to murder his wife, Swedish Anni Dewani, on their honey moon in Gugulethu, Cape Town in 2010. This case is still on. The Guardian have more on this.
The worst case, however, I saw yesterday. Ntokozo Hadebe was sentenced to nine life sentences plus 15 years. That amounts to 240 years. I cannot believe it. I mean, the sentence is probably fair. But how can a person do so much evil? He raped and killed three children in Diepsloot. Enca gives the full story.
Those three cases are definitely different. Shrien Dewani is not even found guilty, hence he is innocent. Pistorius was not sentenced to murder but the lower culpable homicide. Hadebe is sentenced and found guilty to such an extent that he will never become a free man.
This evokes a number of questions but one is nagging me: how can a person end up like this? What does forgiveness and reconciliation mean, when we talk about somebody who has committed this kind of atrocities?
I will not try to answer them. The parents of the murdered will never get their children back. It is probably unbearable. I am praying that they will find strength.
But I also pray that those who are either accused or sentenced will find some mercy, somewhere. I pray that prison warders will be able to show some sort of empathy.
Lord, have mercy!