Amy Elizabeth Biehl (April 26, 1967 – August 25, 1993) was an American graduate of Stanford University and an anti-Apartheid activist in South Africa who was murdered by Cape Town residents while a black mob shouted anti-white slurs. The four men convicted of her murder were pardoned by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Amy Elizabeth Biehl
April 26, 1967
|Died||August 25, 1993 (aged 26)|
|Cause of death||Stabbing, stoning|
|Alma mater||Stanford University|
As she drove three friends home to the township of Gugulethu, outside Cape Town, on August 25, 1993, a mob pulled her from the car and stabbed and stoned her to death. The attack on the car driven by her was one of many incidents of general lawlessness on the NY1 road that afternoon. Bands of toyi-toying youths threw stones at delivery vehicles and cars driven by white people. One delivery vehicle was toppled over and set alight, and only the arrival of the police prevented more damage. There was evidence that some of the possessions belonging to her and the passengers were stolen.
According to Rex van Schalkwyk, in his 1998 book One Miracle Is Not Enough, "Supporters of the three men accused of murdering [her]… burst out laughing in the public gallery of the Supreme Court today when a witness told how the battered woman groaned in pain." (pp. 188–89.) Four people were convicted of killing her.:17–18
Biehl's family supported the release of the men.:71 Her father shook their hands and stated,
The most important vehicle of reconciliation is open and honest dialogue... we are here to reconcile a human life [that] was taken without an opportunity for dialogue. When we are finished with this process we must move forward with linked arms.
In 1994, Biehl's parents, Linda and Peter, founded the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust to develop and empower youth in the townships, in order to discourage further violence.:17–18 Two of the men who had been convicted of her murder worked for the foundation as part of its programs.:17–18 In 1999, Biehl's parents were honored with the Aline and Norman Felton Humanitarian Award.
Among those we remember today is young Amy Biehl. She made our aspirations her own and lost her life in the turmoil of our transition, as the new South Africa struggled to be born in the dying moments of apartheid. Through her, our peoples have also shared the pain of confronting a terrible past, as we take the path towards the reconciliation and healing of our nation.
On August 25, 2010, on the 17th anniversary of Biehl's death, a bronze plaque mounted on a stone was unveiled by the U.S. Ambassador, Donald Gips, and Biehl's mother, Linda Biehl, at the Cape Town site where she was killed.
August 25, 2013, marked the 20th anniversary of Amy Biehl's death and a ceremony was held at the Cape Town site where she was killed in Gugulethu.
- Graybill, Lyn S. (2002). Truth and reconciliation in South Africa : miracle or model?. Boulder [u.a.]: Rienner. ISBN 158826081X.
- "Amy Biehl Was a Casualty of the System". Los Angeles Times. 27 January 1994. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- "Parents of slain Fulbright scholar embrace her cause in South Africa". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 19 January 2001. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- "Statement By The Truth And Reconciliation Commission On Amnesty Arising From Killing Of Amy Biehl". Archived from the original on October 24, 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- R. Pressler; J.S. Saner; I Wasserfall (2009). FCS Criminal Justice Structures and Mandates L3. Cape Town: Pearson Education. ISBN 978-1-77025-354-4.
- Peacemaker Hero: Amy Biehl
- "Annual Awards Dinner". Death Penalty Focus. Archived from the original on 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
- Nelson Mandela. "Speech Accepting the Congressional Gold Medal"
- "Memorial to Amy Biehl unveiled in South Africa" Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, United States Diplomatic Mission to South Africa.
- "Mother to Mother CL".
- "Mother to Mother". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 2019-05-28.
- Maditla, Neo (26 August 2013). ""My daughter didn't want to be famous"". Cape Argus. p. 3. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
- "Amy Biehl High School: Our History" Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- "Obituary". The Daily Herald. Chicago, Illinois. January 9, 2000. p. 143.