Oscar Pistorius: Fallen Hero

Rant!’s CONVERSATIONS WITH ZAPIRO Series

Rant! loves a good cartoon and Zapiro is South Africa’s best – bold, brazen and as sharp as a razor.

Mail & Guardian, 17 February 2013
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Mail & Guardian, 18 February 2013
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Oh Oscar! – seriously!? We’re trying to be objective here but it’s not looking all that good for you. Reeva was an intruder? Uh… maybe if you hadn’t chased her into the bathroom and fired three shots through a locked door. And then those pesky police had to go and notice the bloodied cricket bat and your girlfriend’s crushed skull. Eish! Good thing you seem to have an explanation for everything.

Zapiro shows Pistorius sweating under the strain of the ‘she was an intruder’ claim, exposing the frailty of a defence almost believable in a country in which “too many citizens exist in a siege mentality” (Rebecca Davis for the Daily Maverick). Crime is rife, guns are deemed necessary and violence begets violence. It should be no surprise really. But Oscar Pistorius was a hero – a term that, in South Africa, is all too often synonymous with the abdication of blame.

When politicians and public officals, many of whom have faced criminal charges themselves (the current president included), disappoint in the hero department, it seems natural that Icon status is awarded to sportsmen. In an insightful article written by Rebecca Davis for the Daily Maverick, she says this of South African-style hero worship:

“These incidents make news – unlike countless others – because of the public profile of the men involved. But there’s no sense that they are particularly career-limiting for the men involved. South Africa is famously sports-crazy, and the adulation meted out to successful sporting personalities seems to result in a high degree of immunity. Sportsmen are also prized on some level because they are the “manliest” men, in a country where aggressive, testosterone-driven masculinity is rewarded in arenas from schools to boardrooms to bedrooms…

…We have to work on developing alternative masculinities: ones that prize virtues other than being able to run the fastest or hit the hardest.”

Olympic medals barely settled in mounted cases, Oscar Pistorius becomes another name on a long list of high profile criminals who have dashed a nation’s dreams. Will Oscar take the Oscar? Whatever the outcome, the hero has most certainly fallen. The Icon has allegedly conned us all.

Sources:

Dailymaverick.co.za – “Analysis: After the murder that shocked the country, a time for introspection”, Rebecca Davis
Citypress.co.za – “Exclusive – The case against Oscar”, Adriaan Basson and Jacques Steenkamp

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