Under Investigation: Press Release 25.11.15

26 November 2015

Under Investigation is an ambitious community development project being run in Steytlerville in the Eastern Cape. The project has several elements but centres on the enquiry of five young people eager to understand and build on the history of their home town during the struggle. Thus far the project has delivered the following:

  • The young people who call themselves the Under Investigation Production Team have run two highly successful Theatres of Learning for primary school learners. A film 'We will shine' has been made documenting this shared experience.
  • A documentary film 'Under Investigation' has been made exploring the death of Johannes Witbooi Spogter in police custody in Steytlerville in July 1985.
  • The film will be premièred on Saturday 28th November at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, 105 Hatfield Street, Cape Town at 18.00.
  • The five young members of the Under Investigation Production Team are travelling from Steytlerville to host the screening. They will be joined by more than seventy guests including twenty young people from Equal Education.
  • A digital hub fully connected to the internet has been set up in the Steytlerville High School.
  • A Production Diary has been put together with significant video material detailing the historical and ongoing involvement of past members of Black Sash and the young people who made the film. This will go live from www.facebook.com/steytlervile on Friday 27th November.
  • A partnership with South African History Online has been set up and work will begin on Monday30th November to enable the young Steytlervillians to create a community website and digital archive to platform further explorations.


  • For further information contact Ann Jamieson on:

0216860176, 0722107007, ann.jamieson@bigwidetalk.org

  • Johannes Witbooi Spogter died in custody in Steytlerville after being picked up by police following a protest led by STEYCO, a local organisation under the United Democratic Front umbrella. Johannes was twelve years old. Another young person Mzwandile Miggels was shot dead during the same event. The death sparked a protest by two members of Black Sash in Cape Town who chained themselves to the railings of Parliament. At the time little was known about the actual death nor of the circumstance which led up to it.
  • The film Under Investigation is an account of what the Production Team have learned about the death, the legacy of the struggle in their home town and their responses to that history.
  • The Production Team interviewed fifteen local people on film and these interviews will form part of the evolving local archive.
  • The deaths occurred only a few days after the assassination of Matthew Goniwe. We now know that Mzwandile Miggels had strong connections to Matthew Goniwe.
  • We also now know that an inquest was held in Steytlerville but we have no record of the proceedings. These are now being sought.
  • It is hoped that the continued production of theatres of learning in Steytlerville will generate further funding for this work albeit of modest amounts.