STANDING ROOM ONLY: (left to right) Sarah, Sihembiso and Rebecca

STANDING ROOM ONLY: (left to right) Sarah, Sihembiso and Rebecca

As the international media circus descends on South Africa for the trial of South African Oscar Pistorius, the interest is officially bigger than the FIFA World Cup with over 9200 articles an hour recorded in an astonishing peak.

In the UK a bookmaker is taking bets on the result with the odds offered showing that most think the Paralympic athlete will be found not guilty of the murder of his girlfriend ReevaSteenkamp.

As the trial entered its third week

Lee Mataboge

Lee Mataboge

it is also the subject of debate at the Thorn Tree coffee shop in Francistown as staff and customers watch the TV coverage and discuss the outcome.

Waitress SithembisoKobole(29) is convinced that Oscar Pistorious is guilty.

“Because when he fired the bullets he heard screams, that’s when he should have realized what he thought was an intruder was his girlfriend,” she pointed out to her fellow workers who have taken a break from their busy day to watch the proceedings.

“If indeed he had shot his girlfriend by mistake he would have reported the matter to the police instead he keeps quiet, raising more suspicion,” she argues.

Bonolo Tsamaya

Bonolo Tsamaya

“But the case is taking long. I can’t wait to see how it will end.”

For fellow worker Sarah Lerothodiit is an open and shut case of pre-meditated murder.

“The courthas established that Oscar fooled around a lot with guns. Despite his girlfriend running away to hide in the toilet, he followed her and continued to shot at her.

“But I want to see if the courts will be fair.

People shouldn’t feel sorry for him because of his disability.”

Also watching is Rebecca MaidzaGaothobogwe,who catches as much as she can of the trial in-between serving demanding customers. She has pronounced Pistorious guilty.

“When he woke up and found his girlfriend not next to him, he should have wondered where she was. But he didn’t.

“While in the box crying, vomiting and doing all those things, he was simply showing the painhe felt for killing his girlfriend.

Deep in his heart he knows what he did but doesn’t want to admit his guilt to the world,” is all she has time to say before dashing away to serve another urgent cappuccino.

ON TRIAL: Oscar Pistorius

ON TRIAL: Oscar Pistorius

Sitting at a table near the TV is customer Bonolo Tsayang.

“That guy is going to walk away a free man,” is her honest opinion.

“His lawyer is powerful – he is twisting everything. I watched it yesterday and I could see the officer who took the pictures…..what was his name?”

She scrolls through a text message on her cell phone and proclaims triumphantly “Van Staden! That was it.

The white manwas sweating. His face was very red.

“I think Pistorious may be guilty but I don’t think it will be proven. I also think his girlfriend was very unfair.

She spent his money but wouldn’t spend Valentine’s night (when she was shot) with him. I would have been more considerate if it was my boyfriend.”

The only male on the scene is Lee Matabogewho is of the opinionthere are too many factors thatpoint to Pistoriousbeing what he describes as a ‘hit man.’

“Oscarknew he was shooting to kill.  And with a 9 mm hand gun a novice would have shot once because the gunshot would cause a fright.  But in Pistorious’ case he shoots continuously, meaning he knew his target.

“What also raises question is the locked bathroom door. People don’t lock their bathroom doors when they use them at night, but just walk in and out.  From my analysisthe couple must have been fighting.”

The case continues into its third week, and so does the debate.



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