Pistorius was surely not aware that when he insisted the person he shot in the bathroom was an intruder he was re-enacting one strand of his nation’s cruellest past.
On 3 March 2014 the first day in the trial of Oscar Pistorius for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp – Judge Thokozile Matilda Masipa made her way across courtroom GD at North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria slowly and haltingly.
She suffers from severe arthritis and for the duration of the trial she sat on an orthopaedic chair – much smaller than the vast leather seats of the two assessors on either side.
Judge Masipa’s entry couldn’t have been more different from that of the defendant she was there to judge.
According to one observer Pistorius ‘strode’ up to the dock.
‘I execute each stride with intent’ is one line of a verse from Corinthians that Pistorius has tattooed across his shoulder.
Depending on your opinion of her final judgment Judge Masipa was either uniquely qualified for or unsuited to her task.
As is well known she found Pistorius not guilty of murder but guilty of culpable homicide – the equivalent of manslaughter in Anglo-American law.
After the judgment she became the target of misogynistic and patronising vitriol – she was called ‘an incompetent black woman’ – taunted with being ‘blind and deaf’ and required round-the-clock house protection.
Many of those accusing her spoke in the name of justice for women.
The appeal against her verdict was heard before South Africa’s supreme court last week – and a finding is expected soon.