Recreating a baby’s murder

2008-02-06 00:00

This is not an easy book to review. Written by a close relative of the victim, the book is written to recreate the events surrounding the murder of baby Jordon Leigh Norton by Dina Rodrigues in 2005. The subject is highly emotive even when described in cold hard journalese. As such, it is difficult to read it in a critical light. However, some critique is in order.

Otmar, an aunt to Natasha, the mother of the baby, works in Australia as an editor and writer. She hadn’t been home to Cape Town for 10 years but flew out as soon as baby Jordan was killed. She recreates the imagined events leading up to Natasha’s pregnancy, the birth of baby Jordan and her subsequent rejection by her birth father. Unfortunately, these are the sections of the book that do not sit well with me. The Norton family is described in glowing terms in sharp contrast to Neil Wilson, the birth father, and his family after their rejection of Natasha and the baby. Natasha was in a relationship with another man, Julian, when she found out she was pregnant. Julian assumed the child was his until his parents insisted on a paternity test. It is these sections and the subsequent intervention of Dina Rodrigues, Wilson’s very possessive girlfriend at the time, that are shaded with a little too much prejudice.

However, once Otmar arrives in Cape Town in the flesh, she recounts the events of the funeral and trial from her own perspective. This is where the book finds more stable ground. The murder of a baby is so appalling in itself that it does not need embellishment. The latter half of the book makes up for the irritations of the first half. Otmar ends the book with an analysis of the crime situation in South Africa where almost 20 000 people are murdered a year. She also examines the results of crime against children. This book is another strong call to take action against the crime in our country.

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