By Mick Krever, CNN
On the day Olympic star Oscar Pistorius testified in a South African court about the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a South African gun control advocate told CNN’s Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane Amanpour, that the case “fits the profile.”
“It’s highly racialized, gun ownership – the use of guns, but also who the victims are,” Adele Kirsten of Gun Free South Africa said.
Women “are particularly vulnerable in their home to be shot and killed by a man intimate and known to them, usually with a legal gun,” as was the case with Pistorius and Steenkamp.
Pistorius broke down on the witness stand Tuesday, sobbing as he recounted the moment he realized he had fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
“South Africa posts one of the highest homicide rates in the world,” Kirsten said, saying that the country shared that honor with countries like Venezuela, Jamaica, El Salvador.
“But the reality is that the majority of South Africans are not armed.”
South Africa’s gun culture, Kirsten told Pleitgen, is “absolutely a product of both our colonial and our apartheid past.”
There has historically been “a strong attachment to guns, where guns were used to disposes the land from indigenous people and subjugate local people.”
“More recently, in terms of apartheid, it isn’t just the use of force by police, but it was the structural violence…in South Africa during apartheid, which continues in many ways today.”
During most of Apartheid, she said, blacks were prohibited from owning weapons – a privilege reserved for white South Africans.
“The numbers still seem to indicate that the majority of licensed gun holders are men, and usually white men.”