In 1993, Amy Biehl, a white American Fulbright scholar and anti-apartheid activist, was living in South Africa helping with the preparations for the country’s first democratic election. On the day before her scheduled return to the U.S., she was brutally attacked and stabbed to death as she was driving friends home in the township of Guguletu, outside Cape
Four young black South Africans were convicted of her murder and imprisoned. Each then requested amnesty from the TRC, pointing to the racially-polarized atmosphere at the time, the then-popular slogan, “one settler, one bullet,” and their assumption that Biehl was a white South African.
In July, 1997, the filmmakers accompanied Amy Biehl’s parents as they attended the hearings in South Africa and testified in support of the Commission’s goals, stating, to the surprise of many, that they would not oppose amnesty.
Then the Biehls went a step further, meeting with the family of Mongezi Christopher Manqina, one of their daughter’s murderers, after Mongezi’s mother had sent Mrs. Biehl a message expressing sorrow at her son’s responsibility for Amy’s death This story examines how, in the midst of their own personal tragedy, the Biehls have managed to honor their daughter’s visions for a new South Africa.
It also explores the complex issues raised by the killing: should convicted murderers be granted amnesty because the political circumstances of the times induced them to commit the crime? How does this mob murder compare with the calculated, state-sponsored killings perpetrated by the South African police force?