Social media is alive with news of the sentence in the trial of Oscar Pistorious in a South African court.
There is another story here which we are overlooking. Let us not forget that black South Africans first voted in 1994 in post-apartheid South Africa. That is a mere twenty years ago. Nelson Mandela spent twenty-seven years in prison, battling for freedom.
Tonight we witnessed a black South African woman sentence a white South African man to jail. Despite what any of us may or may not feel about the actual sentence, there is no denying this was a momentous occasion.
Judge Masipa would have been a teenager or young child when apartheid ended. Her people were not even entitled to vote. Today she sat in judgement of a fellow citizen.
There is no question this was a high profile case that attracted international news coverage. We could watch the sentencing live.
While I personally think the sentence should have been longer I take into consideration the prosecution failed to disprove Pistorious did not shoot at a perceived intruder. I do not know the sentencing standards in South Africa, but I did listen to the Judge’s reasoning comparing similar cases and her rationale. So while in my country I would have expected a longer sentence, I take into account my ignorance about the South African legal system. Many experts had been predicting no jail time, so I think any jail time is better than none. I recall OJ Simpson was acquitted.
Let us not let our debate about the length of the sentence overshadow the advances black South Africans have made in a mere twenty years. Many of us in the Western world have little comprehension of the history.