Archive | March 2014

The Implications of an Error in Persona

In my last post I outlined some of the main issues of the Oscar Pistorius trial, focussing on its TV broadcasting and highlighting some ethical considerations. I now want to take the subject further to show the overall relevance of the trial for my project.

When Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day 2013, this was short before my first explorative research stay in South Africa. By the time I arrived in Pretoria, the topic was still a hot one and it proved to be a fruitful ice-breaker at the beginning of interviews. Why? From the beginning on, two major exclusive versions of the events existed. One version was pushed forward by the accused himself and later on by his lawyers, claiming that when he shot the person behind the closed bathroom door at his house, Oscar Pistorius thought he was facing an intruder. But this description was soon called into question by media and the public as some elements of the story just seem obscure: Why would the deceased have locked herself into the bathroom in the middle of the night, taking her cellphone with her? The accused stated that at the time he went to the bathroom and shot the assumed intruder, he thought his girlfriend was still lying in bed. Going along with his version, how probable is it he didn’t notice she was not lying next to him? Read More…


A Nation in the Courtroom

“Coming live from Johannesburg, South Africa, the Oscar Pistorius trial channel” When I switch on channel 199 “OPTCB” on my Dstv these days I’m no longer sitting on my sofa at home in Pretoria but I instantly become a witness of the court proceedings in the trial against Oscar Pistorius. In the early hours of […]