Listen to the inner rage, hit the punch bag harder… and let love reign

An attempt to strip me of my humanity made me realise what it means to be human. Violence inflicted on me has only made me more determined to love others and to avoid causing harm. I have a view of my garden from my kitchen table. Every morning, I look at the dried-up vegetables in the upturned, halved oil drums in my backyard. All the vegetables have died. I remember where the cute, tiny, butternut squash suddenly appeared and where … Read more

How communities are defying the Ingonyama Trust’s land grab

Ahead of SA’s watershed 1994 election, 3-million hectares of KwaZulu land were transferred into the Ingonyama Trust, under the Zulu king. On November 22, the high court in Pietermaritzburg will hear residents who claim they have been unlawfully forced to pay rent to the trust, which, aside from having never received a clean audit, appears to be predatory and intimidating. The Umnini holiday resort in the south of KwaZulu-Natal has a picture-perfect view. The 21-chalet resort, with a 40-seater conference … Read more

The rise of women boxers in Nigeria

11 July 2019: Princess Oluwapelumi Adewale, a 17-year-old boxer in a training session with her coach at the National Stadium in Lagos, Nigeria.

Boxing is not new in Nigeria, but female boxers have only recently started commanding the respect they deserve in and out of the ring. They still earn less than their male counterparts, though. Ishat Oriyomi, a 23-year-old amateur boxer from Nigeria, is kicking her feet in the air in short sharp thrusts. She is standing in the middle of a circle of fellow boxers who are all copying her. She counts the kicks and the boxers, 10 men and 10 … Read more

Prison company stalls court actions


British multinational security company G4S wants the high court in Pretoria to suppress evidence that could reveal widespread torture and abuse of prisoners at its Mangaung prison in Bloemfontein. G4S has demanded that the medical files of inmates are not to be made public. The inmates allege that the multinational tortured and injected them against their will with antipsychotic drugs. The medical files could contain evidence of these transgressions. G4S still holds the contract to run Mangaung prison, despite being … Read more

A joint can still get you in the joint

Aidan Berry Plants

In 2012, I was arrested with two friends for smoking a joint I had just bought off a car guard in Melville, Joburg. Now that dagga has been partially legalised, I feel I can come out of the pot closet. On September 18, the Constitutional Court ruled that the cultivation and use of dagga is legal if it is for personal use and if used in private. It confirmed an earlier decision taken in April last year by the Western … Read more

Following ConCourt ruling, SAPS continues to arrest people for possession of cannabis

Participants during the Annual Cannabis Walk on 5 May, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. About 2,000 participants joined the annual march in support for the legalisation of cannabis. (Photo by Gallo Images / Brenton Geach).

The new ConCourt judgment legalising private use of cannabis should lead to a decrease in dagga arrests, but power still rests with the police. To date, cannabis arrests are one of the biggest SAPS arrest categories. Complete decriminalisation would free up R3.5-billion in police resources. This could be put to good use in combating the worrying 7 % increase in the murder rate, contained in the latest SAPS crime stats. On 18 September, the Constitutional Court ruled that the cultivation … Read more

G4S snared by torture allegations at Bloemfontein jail


Inmates say they were given electric shocks and forcibly injected at the multinational security company’s Mangaung Correctional Centre, writes Ruth Hopkins The multinational security company G4S, a main contender for the South African Social Security Agency tender to distribute social grants, is in court over torture allegations. The company is defending claims by 42 inmates that they were subjected to electric shocks, forcibly injected with antipsychotic drugs and placed in lengthy isolation in G4S’s Mangaung Correctional Centre in Bloemfontein. The … Read more

Why government should focus more on keeping people out of prison

The question is why does the government not focus more on keeping people out of prison – a more cost-effective and humane solution? Bernard Mitchell is trying hard to stay out of prison. He served 20 years for an armed robbery and murder, and ended up in Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town where he joined the 26s, one of the feared number gangs that rule prison life in South Africa. The numbers are an extension of the various gangs that … Read more

Free State ANC tramples on justice

Silenced: Thabo Botsane’s arrest is part of a bigger story. Independent candidates in the Free State are charged and then labelled criminals by ANC councillors. (Ruth Hopkins)

WJP’s Ruth Hopkins reveals how several cases involving party members point to the political silencing of their often poor opponents. The main hall on the campus of the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein is called Equitas. Justice, in Latin. Outside, a towering silver statue of Lady Justice — scales in one hand, a sword in the other — gazes down on everyone who uses the steps. On May 29 last year, she must have frowned, or at least … Read more

‘It Was Him Or Me’: Women Who Killed Their Abusive Partners In Self-Defence


In South Africa, crime statistics for domestic violence, rape and femicide are through the roof. The crime rate for women as perpetrators, on the other hand, is very low. Only approximately 4000 women, a mere 2.6 % of the total prison population, are behind bars. Some of the women incarcerated in prisons throughout the country are serving lengthy prison sentences for killing their abusive, violent partners in self-defence. There is currently no accurate information* available on what percentage of the … Read more