RESTITUTIO was published on 19 September 2014, exactly 7 days after Judge Thokozile Masipa pronounced her controversial verdict; Oscar Pistorius not guilty on the charge of murdering Reeva Steenkamp in his home on Valentine’s Day 2013. On the same day RESTITUTIO was published, the South African Police announced the latest crime statistics:
17 068 people were murdered in South Africa over the past year. That’s 47 people per day; 800 more than the previous year. Reeva Steenkamp, however, will not be counted among those numbers.
The question RESTITUTIO asks is: ‘why not?’ And ‘where to from here’?
South African freelance photojournalist, Nick van der Leek, and forensic profiler and criminologist, Laurie Pieters-James, have teamed up for the first time to interrogate the subterranea behind the Oscar trial. Additional insights via the popular American analyst Juror13 provide international perspectives to the story. In sum, a trio of analysts means a singular narrative reinforced into an even more powerful, and thoroughly-considered story.
RESTITUTIO takes the reader on a journey through intellectual rivers and deserts, mountains and storms, until finally a guiding metaphor emerges…and presents us with an Abyss. Whether we float over it or plunge into it depends on how we respond to our own (individual and societal) ‘wrongness’. Can we even acknowledge ‘Being Wrong’?
The RESTITUTIO narrative seeks answers on this very central question and then probes an even darker mythos…our prospects for Ernest Becker’s brutal questions on the human condition. Is there an escape from evil for us? And from death (by crime in South Africa, for example)? Is there a way for us to find our way back to real reconciliation and true legitimacy?
The authors interrogate these questions using the Oscar Trial as a taking-off point.
Highlights of RESTITUTIO include stories by:
1. Sonja Raath. The last journalist to interview Reeva Steenkamp, writes candidly about her thoughts, feelings and firsthand experience when she met the couple at the Virgin Active Sports Awards, and her interactions with Reeva afterwards.
2. Criminologist and analyst for CNN, Laurie Pieters-James. Pieters-James, co-writer of Shattered Lives (the story of Dirk Prinsloo and Advocate Barbie) describes her impressions of Hilton Botha, who she had the opportunity to converse with during the bail hearings, which she attended in person. Pieters-James also provides insight into the (often disturbed) psyches of the fanatic Oscar followers, better known as the Pistorians.
3. Juror13. Over the past year and a half, South Africans have been in mourning, along with the grieving Steenkamp family. Has justice been done? Disappointment in the spring of 2014 is widespread following the verdict. US-based courtroom analyst and blogger, Juror13 interrogates the grief that societies suffer in the wake of such verdicts. Juror13 also describes her personal experiences of 9/11 and the Newtown Elementary school shooting in Connecticut. How can a nation move forward after such abominations?
4. Nick van der Leek. The author provides more poignant insights and analysis into the Oscar trial, into its ironies (the victim’s family being less emotional than the accused throughout), but also draws the reader further, far further than REVELATIONS, on a journey to the Existential Abyss…and beyond.