Gideon Niewoudt – nicknamed ‘Notorious Niewoudt’ – was one of the feared Security Police in South Africa’s former apartheid government. He and his colleagues are responsible for the torture, poisoning and death of numerous black activists, among them Steve Biko and 22 year old student leader Siphiwo Mtimkulo and his friend Topsy Madaka who were shot and burned in 1982. In 1985, when the new South African government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) first attempted to hear Mtimkulo’s case, a group of top Security Police Generals obtained a court order to block his family giving evidence, threatening to undermine the whole TRC process. They finally only applied for amnesty just 48 hours before the court order deadline expired. When they gave evidence before a placard wielding gallery, Sikhumbuzo Mtimkulo, Siphiwo’s 16 year old son, fainted and had to be carried out of the court. Director Mark Kaplan has been documenting Mtimkulo’s story for over three years – a testimony, he claims, to the best and worst of which mankind is capable.
Films in this series