Sibongile Mafu

Jub Jub: Justice isn't pretty

2012-10-17 09:00

Sibongile Mafu

Molemo "Jub Jub" Maarohanye didn't have time to properly celebrate the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

That's because just several months before South Africa showcased that she could indeed handle the world's biggest sporting event, the musician and his mangled Mini-Cooper were found in Soweto. Jub Jub and his best supporting actor Themba Tshabalala ploughed into a group of school children, killing four of them and leaving two seriously injured. Yesterday, the two men were found guilty of a laundry list of offences which include: four counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder, use of drugs, racing on a public road and driving under the influence of drugs.

Justice was served as a hearty seven-colour meal, but many were still not satisfied.


For two years the victims and the families of the victims waited for a verdict, hoping to find what newspapers and movies like to call "closure". For two years the country was gripped by a case involving a baby-faced musician who decided to cram as many poor judgment calls in one day as he could. This one tragic day could have easily become a matric Life Orientation syllabus. So many modules came out of it. The dangers of drug abuse, celebrities and the law, being a responsible motorist, the art of forgiveness and the blame game.

Many people that I spoke to who were incredibly angry at Jub Jub at the beginning changed their view of him over time. The anger was replaced by sympathy. The crusade for justice to be done was replaced by "everyone makes mistakes". Justice did not only become about a person paying for their crimes but about forgiveness, thoughts of rehabilitation and glass house metaphors.
I wasn't shocked at the verdict. Six young people were mowed down that day. The people who thought the verdict was harsh would have been the very same people who, had the verdict been a favourable to the accused, would have complained at the inefficiency of our justice system.

'Could have been you'

Perhaps what makes this case so unique is how it made people look at their own lives and behaviour, and if you weren't looking at your own life choices, there was definitely someone out there instructing you to. When the guilty verdict was read out, responses like "it could have so easily been me or you" were quite common.

I was now being made to look at my own decisions before I could formulate an opinion on something. It was like my head was being shoved into water by a school bully. My opinion was being bullied by the standards of another's morality. Different variations of "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" made the rounds. That is a tidy one to use when you want to gag someone. That should be amended to "let he who is without sin, formulate and articulate an opinion". "Maybe only angels and baby Jesus could be truly happy that justice was served."

I'm starting to think about the whole point of having an opinion. We're able to fight amongst ourselves and whoever is able to push one person to the ground first wins that particular round. We'll go on and on like this with various debates until one person becomes so exhausted, they eventually give in to the other person’s views. Maybe having an opinion is arming yourself with the right artillery to just get you through the next battle, gain a reasonable amount of credibility, and move on to the next one.

Two sides of justice

When a crime has been committed against you or someone close to you, your idea of justice could look a little different. Yes, no amount of fair court proceedings will bring your loved ones back, all that's left is the person who has been the cause of your pain, being made to suffer just a little.

This Jub Jub case in particular ceased being about the merits of the case and justice taking its course but about the art of forgiveness and the various stages of sympathy one felt for the man at a particular time. Those who felt nothing for him and were glad that he was found guilty were chastised by those who felt he had made a mistake and deserved a bit of leniency. Those who felt he made a mistake were similarly raked over the coals for being a little too soft. There were very few in the middle ground. Maybe justice is about choosing a side.

I need a tea break. Court adjourned.

- Sibongile is a videographer, blogger and social media enthusiast who would be nothing without her thumbs. Follow her on Twitter: @SboshMafu.

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Read more on:    jub jub  |  themba tshabalala  |  jub jub case

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