August 21, 2008
by Cape Argus staff reporters
How could a quiet boy suddenly turn into a sword-wielding killer?
This was the topic of debate in the town of Krugersdorp on the West Rand.
Rumours abounded yesterday as people discussed the court appearance of Morne Harmse, the 18-year-old accused of slashing to death a classmate with a Samurai sword.
"Satanism is big in this area. These kids are getting up to all sorts of evil," said one person.
Dead animals, pentagrams and any interest in the occult were mulled over.
The Freedom Front Plus's Jaco Mulder even sent out a press release asking for the TV show Reaper to be withdrawn from M-Net.
The plot, in which the main character tracks down souls for Satan, was in "no way comic".
"Pop groups like Slipknot and programmes like Reaper, together with any rituals of Satanism, contribute towards a climate of instability and immorality."
Slipknot, the US heavy metal band, drew plenty of criticism from locals.
"That music is satanic. It's not good for young people and it really makes them do harmful things," was a viewpoint.
He said there was "Satanism in all the schools in the country, it just hasn't manifested itself yet".
Eksteen said that, at a meeting at the Nic Diederichs Technical High School with counsellors yesterday, many children admitted to listening to "satanic music" and expressed a desire to change.
Ninjas, the influence of the media, availability of weapons and school safety in general also came under the spotlight.
At Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court, it was hard to imagine how a teenager could swing a 60cm-long sword with enough force to slash a fellow pupil's jugular.
Sitting in the dock yesterday, Harmse, is small, his face barely reaching the court microphones, and his voice barely a whisper.
He spent less than 10 minutes at court during his first appearance over the slaughter on Monday.
His family did not appear to be there.
He faces one count of murder, for the killing of 16-year-old Jacques Pretorius, and three of attempted murder.
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