Anyone who has any doubts on how much sway the media holds over our lives, should cast their mind back to the last time they discussed, remembered or mourned the tragic passing of Reeva Steenkamp. Been quite a while for most of us, right?
Well, that's all about to change fleetingly for the month of June 2013. From the 4 June to be exact.
In the next few weeks or so, Oscar Pistorius will return to court to face charges on the killing of his then girlfriend and as with anything which is bound to attract intense media attention, it will automatically drill a space in our minds and hold us sufficiently captive from start to finish.
Old boils will itch to be lanced and uncomfortable truths(and untruths) will surface, to add to the already potent brew of uneasiness. Women groups are clearly in rehearsals waiting to unleash their disdain for their fallen hero, whilst supporters of the tainted Olympian are sharpening their defense tools to ensure the other side do not win the PR war (imperative in any media-saturated event).
The poor families involved will have to listen to excruciating details about their loved ones, but in the same vein, aspire to observing all manner of decorum. South Africa as an entity, will have to watch as its dirty laundry is washed for global gawping and dissection, and knowing the SA people like we all do, they will come out fighting on all formats of media attempting to preserve some national pride.
For those who are not in the know as per the horrific murder statistics in that part of the world, I believe they are all about to be educated on the numbers and most importantly, the variant shades of how those figures affect different demographics in the country. For instance, I found out through reading a Vanity Fair article that "intimate femicide" is the country's leading cause of violent death among women....wow!
The more you hear about the situation in the Cape, the more you realise how similar it is to America in the 60s. The racial division, the sporadic use of firearms, the machismo, the rampant crime and the all-round sense of danger.
Could it all be real though or is it all being pumped up to paint a picture of an environment where fear for one's life, is a feeling hanging permanently in the air? I only ask because I know tons of people who seem to want to spend their summers in that part of the world. Of course it will be nice to hear from the horses' mouths and know how the locals perceive the state of their nation, although judging by Oscar's and his father, Henke's accounts, the situation (from their perspective anyway) is not too far from the picture I paint in the previous paragraph.
But in truth, all the above is a red herring. There is a murder charge to be faced because a vibrant young woman's life has been violently truncated. Furthermore, the person in the dock is probably only second to Mandela, as the best known South African of all time. The nature of the murder, the fame of the accused and the loss of the victim, are all events which have created insane forces of nature which are now bound to collide in a Johannesburg courtroom.
The cavalry is already rolling into town,as Hilton Botha, the initial investigating detective who was one of the first on the scene that fateful night, is bursting at the seams for his day in court. Evidently irritated by his demotion from the case, but buoyed on by the fact he will be subpoenaed to give evidence at the trial, he is letting anyone who cares to ask him what side of the fence he sits.
The resulting debris will be seen from faraway distance and the noise, unbelievably deafening. In the end, the dust will clear and the din will fade....what will be left behind though, will be tragic in nature....no matter what side of the fence you sit.
Everybody loses. Worse still....as soon as the cameras disappear, only the family members remain in pain.