Tag Archives: torture

Cultural embodiments of the life and death instincts in human beings

Since the 19th century, when the heirs of 17th- and 18th-century British empiricism started thinking of the social implications of the empiricist doctrine, that all we know comes from experience, thinkers like Lord Shaftesbury and his ilk have believed that human society was “perfectible”. After all, if society could be arranged in such a way…

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Apartheid, torture and the potential for forgiveness

By Dylan Wray George* is a history teacher. He used to be very high up in the apartheid security police in the Eastern Cape. Zolile* has always been a history teacher. As a young man, he was arrested attempting to flee South Africa to take up arms with Umkhonto weSizwe. George more than likely oversaw…

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Will we ever see police officers prosecuted for torture?

The assault with intent to grievous bodily harm case against former SAPS warrant officers David Gunn and Gerrit Januarie was postponed last week until August 18 2014. They were filmed by a member of the public when they brutally assaulted a Nigerian man and stripped him naked in a Cape Town street. Apart from the…

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When will apartheid victims be compensated?

June 26 is the anniversary of the signing of the Freedom Charter. It is also International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The Freedom Charter is an aspirational document which focuses mainly on freedoms “to” and “of”. One subclause speaks directly to freedom “from”: “The privacy of the house from police raids shall be…

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Is SA ready to lead by example?

The inauguration of Advocate Lawrence Mushwana last week as the new chairperson of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) came at a time when South Africa’s human rights record is at its lowest. Mushwana, who is the chair of South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC),…

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Torture, it’s cowardly and cruel

The death of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko this month 35 years ago shocked the world. It was the cruel manner in which he died that highlighted the undesirable effects of torture by law enforcers. Biko was tortured to death while held at Pretoria Central Prison in 1977. Apartheid security policy allegedly tried to get…

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