Am I My Sister's Keeper?

On 21 April, my birthday, my mother told me about a missing teacher from a local high school, Jayde Panayiotou. She’s since been found murdered and her husband is the prime suspect. My mother casually mentioned that Jayde studied teaching with my younger sister at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

This morning I was reviewing the case from various news sources. And there was many unanswered questions going through my mind, such as, “Why is this so similar to Reeva Steenkamp’s murder?” and “If she was a black teacher, would the media give it the same amount of coverage?”

All I know about this story is what my mother told me, and what the news media has reported non-stop. May Jayde rest in peace. And I trust the courts will confirm the guilt of her husband.

Annuscha MurrayAfter all this, I thought about my sister. She’s engaged to be married later this year to her fiancee. Their relationship had its ups and downs, just like my own. But chills went down my spine, when I considered, this could have happened to my very own sister.

At first there was a sadness, a helplessness that came over me. And afterwards a flash of rage, and anger that I have felt before. As the older brother I always considered it was my blood-bound duty to be my sister’s keeper.

Do I feel responsible for her now that she’s an adult? How can I protect her when I’m living in another city or another country for that matter? What can I do when harm comes to her? It pains me to think about the distance, both physical and emotional, between us since she finished high school.

There are few things in life as precious as family, sisters or brothers.

Annuscha, my sister, I love you with all my heart. When I was 12 years old, you were born. The day you were born I was left home alone, and the adults rushed off to hospital with our pregnant mother. This is a memory so deeply ingrained in my soul I can never forget the day you came into our lives.

Some of the fondest memories I have is how I changed your nappies. And how me and your cousin, Alberton, taped your crying voice, and played it back to you on tapes. Your reaction to this was priceless. Your life is precious and I admire your courage to raise two children.

Wherever I may be in the world, you can always count on me to be there for you.


Oscar Pistorius website undergoes PR makeover

Oscar Pistorius websiteOscar Pistorius’s official website,, has had a massive revamp in recent days. This is thanks to a PR drive his team launched after he was accused of killing Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius’s family have decided to devote his official website to the latest news about developments as well as messages of support they are constantly receiving.

The website is also open to Pistorius’s fans from all over the world, who have been posting messages of support on the website and Bible verses, wishing him luck and praying for him. It also contains a copy of the affidavit that was read by his lawyer in court on Tuesday, explaining events that he said had led to the shooting of his girlfriend.

What is missing, however, are all the logos of his sponsors. A week ago, when one clicked on the logos of his sponsors, such as Nike, on his website, the page would open to an article. Now, those logos have been removed, after his sponsors dropped him.

The website has, among others, a picture gallery, media articles and messages of support. Despite huge interest in the Pistorius story worldwide, there were only four listed under “media articles” on Thursday afternoon.

Two were from last year, informing his fans that the athlete would be appearing on Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN as well as on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The other two articles are recent opinion pieces written by people blasting Pistorius’s critics and those “that have already judged him”.

One of the opinion pieces is from Duncan Reyburn, who claims he went to school with Pistorius and happens to work “at the university that Oscar used to go to, on a campus just one block away from the prison where he has been held”.

In his article, Reyburn, a lecturer at the University of Pretoria, makes that South Africa is to blame for Pistorius’s actions.

“I know that Oscar, whether he is guilty of murder or not, would have benefited from being the product of a culture that promotes thought over action. But, sadly, Oscar is the product of our culture. He is, whether we like it or not, a product of us – we’re reactive, terrified, wounded people.

“I have no judgement yet on Oscar’s guilt. Having been the victim a few years ago of a violent attack in my own home, I completely and fully understand the possibility that Oscar could have acted the way he did because he was afraid, because he wanted to protect his girlfriend,” Reyburn says in the article.

Matthew Syed, who writes another opinion piece that appears in The Times of London, blasts Pistorius’s critics, saying that what was happening was “quantity of cod psychology (fake psychology) that has been unleashed” since his arrest. There’s also a statement from Pistorius’s uncle Arnold on behalf of the family.

“We believe that this (the website) is an appropriate way to deal with the expressions of support we have received as well as keeping the media informed about any key developments in the case. We have every confidence as a family that when the world has heard the full evidence, this will prove to be a terrible and tragic accident which has changed many lives forever. We are praying for everyone touched by this tragedy.”

source: The Star / Botho Molosankwe