“ I had forgiven him a long time ago already.. I wanted to know what had happened and why and how he killed her… I wanted my mom back… Why is de Kock the only one in jail? What about the other ones above him who allowed him to kill her?”
2024 will mark the 30 years since the fall of apartheid in South Africa, and a major turning point for the twentieth century. The first democratic elections were held in South Africa on April 27 1994, ushering in Nelson Mandela as the nation’s first black president. Soon after, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was set up to begin the arduous process of going through cases of human rights abuses and criminal acts that spanned over 30 years. Thousands of South Africans testified in court and aired their grievances in a public forum.
Marcia Khoza is one of these South Africans. Her mother, a politically active dissident and member of the South African National Students Congress (SANSCO), was killed at the hands of now released, former hit squad leader Eugene de Kock. Marcia was only five at the time and has lived most of her life in the dark concerning the details of her mother’s death. When she was 14 years old, her school asked her to write an essay about him. In it she argued for a mitigation of the 121-year jail sentence imposed on the former death squad colonel. What Marcia Khoza didn’t realize was that he was responsible for the death of her mother, Portia Khulumile Shabangu, in an ambush in Mbabane, Swaziland, in 1989.
In 2012, Marcia visited de Kock in prison to fill in the gaps and to publicly forgive him. This self-contained eight minute piece focuses on Marcia’s personal story. Her journey of grief, discovery and finally forgiveness echoes the journey of a nation.