Mer01282015

Last updateMar, 27 Jan 2015 10pm

South African media gripped by Pistorius trial

Pretoria, South Africa – It’s been widely dubbed South Africa’s trial of the century and one week into the murder case of fallen hero Oscar Pistorius, few have been disappointed by the events in and around the North Gauteng High Court.

Indeed, for the first time in the country's legal history, prying video cameras have been allowed into a courtroom and all of South Africa has been gripped by the harrowing testimony which has already included the first witness at the scene seeing the paralympian kneeling over the model of his mortally wounded girlfriend.

Model Reeva Steenkamp died in a hail of bullets at Pistorius’ luxury Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year and while the “Blade Runner” admits he killed her, he claims he thought he was shooting at an intruder.

Presiding judge Thokozile Masipa has had her hands full monitoring Barry Roux, Pistorius's defence lawyer who is known for his brutal cross-examination which has already reduced several witnesses to tears.

After five days and nine witnesses, both the prosecution and defence have started to show their hands.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel is relying on witnesses who were within earshot of Pistorius's house to demonstrate that there was a major argument with 'bloodcurdling' screams coming from his home.

The defence, on the other hand, is relying on science to prove that it would have been impossible for the witnesses to have heard what they claim they heard from such a distance.

Not surprisingly, the South African media has had a field day. The Sunday Times said the trial has transfixed South Africa.

After all, it notes that thousands tune in each night to the Oscar Channel – a dedicated channel set up by a cable TV network – to feed on each detail, which is then discussed relentlessly in bars, cafes and on the daily commute to work.

And the rival Sunday Independent wryly noted that it has been a big Oscar week: 'For Africa, it has been a glorious time at the Oscars with the triumph of Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o and diasporan Steve McQueen for their stand-out Best Picture, 12 Years a Slave.

'And for Oscar Pistorius, it has been the an unimaginable beginning of his trial for the alleged premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. It is the beginning of the emergence of new heroes – Nyong’o and McQueen, and the demise of another, Pistorius,” the Sunday Independent said in an editorial.

Pana 10/03/2014