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Sheena St Clair Jonker
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Be that guy, Oscar

07 March 2014, 07:23

Dear Oscar

I have wanted to write to you for some time. I think the time is now.

I am sorry that you are going through what you are. I am sorry that Reeva lost her life in such a violent way. I am sorry she lost her life at all. I am sorry that, whatever the circumstances, you were ultimately the one who ended a beautiful life. And now your life (which cannot be viewed separate from your freedom) is on the line. And so are the lives of many that are subject to perpetual cycles of violence. And, indeed, the profile of our beautiful country itself is on the line too.

Here is the truth: at this point, no one knows the truth, but you. You are the custodian of what really happened on the night of Valentine’s day last year.

All I can say is that you have a story to tell. Tell it with courage. Take South African Society into your confidence. Take the world into your confidence. Tell that story. Don’t hold back. The truth has high value, and it is ultimately the truth that sets us free.

If you have advisors that are helping you to advance a version that could fit with (possibly compromised) forensics, If you know that that version is actually untrue, rise up in courage and tell the truth. Violence, especially that against women and children, is a problem for us all. And we all need to be part of the solution. The bare, raw, painful truth of what happened on that night, told out of a place of courage, has so much power to transform the problem we have. Your story has the power to change many lives. Your story has the power to save many lives. Your story, told truthfully, has the power to save your own life. Set you free.

If you are surrounded by brilliant advisors that are, as they ethically can, “testing the state case”, tactically playing an artificial rules-based evidence system that is susceptible to muting or shutting down massive tracts of truth, don’t. Don’t partake in playing a system where you know you can win, but you were wrong. A system, where you can be right in the argument, but wrong in substance. That’s not justice.

As I said earlier, you are the custodian of the truth here. Only you. The stakes are high. You have a responsibility based on who you are as a human, and the profile you have internationally, to steward that truth. It will take strength and courage.

All of us are capable of harm. All of us are capable of ending lives even. If I make a call to eat a burger whilst driving my car, for instance, I can end a life in an instant. Or many lives. Your story and the circumstances are obviously very different. Each of us have capacity for harm in different ways and to various degrees. But let’s talk about it. Let’s know the truth, as ugly and as painful as it may be. And then let’s decide, as a society, as humanity, how we go about using the cold hard truth to transform. To heal.

But don’t look around for others to blame. That’s what cowards do. And you have shown that you have the capacity for great courage. Don’t make South Africa the fall guy. Don’t bring more harm to an already harmed situation. Don’t be that guy, Oscar.

It’s not too late. Take courage. Rise up. Be strong. Tell your story. Be that guy. Who knows, you may just change the world, starting with your own life.


Sheena Jonker

Alternative Dispute Resolution, Restorative Justice Peacemaker, Human Rights Activist, Survivor of Domestic Violence, Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Friend, brand new vegetarian, dominator of "dis"-ability

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