On 27 October 1971 Ahmed Timol, a 29-year-old Roodepoort school teacher and political activist supposedly committed suicide by jumping out of the 10th floor of the former John Vorster Square Police Station (now Johannesburg Police Station). The original sham of an inquest returned a verdict that there was no living person responsible for his death despite overwhelming evidence of gruesome torture. His family did not believe the verdict but could not prove that he was either tortured to death and then thrown from the window or pushed.
“Someone to Blame: The Ahmed Timol Inquest” is the riveting documentary film about the 2017 re-opening of the inquiry on the untimely death and brutal murder of Timol.
Imtiaz Ahmed Cajee, Timol’s nephew made it his personal quest to find those responsible for his uncle’s death and was the main driving force behind getting the inquest re-opened, said “Our immediate priority is to have the apartheid inquest finding of ‘No-body to Blame’ reversed”.
Directed and produced by award-winning filmmaker Enver Samuel whose first documentary on Ahmed Timol, “Indians Can’t Fly” won two South African Film & Television Awards, the film was recently awarded Best documentary at the Zanzibar International Film Festival.
In commemoration of the month that Timol died, the film is being screened at the 8th Annual Jozi Film Festival on Friday, 4th October at 7:30pm at The Bioscope. “It is an honor to have our film selected for the 8th edition of the Jozi Film Festival, there is a great selection of films to see and I think Joburger’s should come out in their droves and support the festival,” says Enver.
“Someone to Blame” can also be viewed on the local streaming channel Showmax and is featured on free online streamer Afridocs: https://afridocs.net/watch-now/someone-to-blame/
“Someone to Blame” follows the 3-month inquest spanning 20 days in both the Johannesburg High Court and the South Gauteng High Court in Pretoria where compelling testimony was heard of how former political detainees were tortured, proving conclusively that Ahmed Timol was tortured. Expert witnesses steadily built up a case to expose the weaknesses of the first inquest. Security Police including the last person to be with Ahmed Timol when he ‘jumped’ are found, but 45 years after the incident, what do they remember?
The inquest gripped the nation with Judge Billy Mothle in his opening remarks stating “There is no doubt in my mind that during these proceedings we, as South Africans are about to enter a door that will rekindle painful memories. A door that invites us to embark on a journey which will cause all of us to confront the sordid part of our history. That door will only close, once the truth is revealed”.
Enver notes: “For many of our current generation the film is an eye opener to our past history of atrocities that is a shock to them. We tend to forget that ordinary people from all walks of lives were killed, disappeared or went into exile and that the scars of this trauma are still lingering.”
The landmark case revived memories of the apartheid-era police methods probed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which concluded its work in 1998 and has given hope to families who lost loved ones in circumstances similar to the Timol family.
For ticketing information on the Jozi Film Festival, visit www.jozifilmfestival.com.