Renowned writer and academic, Jonny Steinberg presents Why is Murder not a Crime in South Africa? An answer to an uncomfortable question asked in Hargeisa, Somaliland. On a recent trip to Somaliland, two young medical students cornered and interrogated Steinberg, in hostile fashion, over the course of a day. “Your country has the strongest state on the continent,” they said. “Why does it allow its citizens to kill Somalis as if murder is not a crime?” This talk is an answer to their question.

Jonny Steinberg teaches African Studies at Oxford University and is a visiting Professor at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER). Much of Steinberg’s work explores South African people and institutions – the prison, the farm, the police, the clinic – in the wake of the transition to democracy. His books include MidlandsThe Number, and Three-Letter Plague. His latest book, A Man of Good Hope was published in 2015. Steinberg has twice won South Africa’s most prestigious literary prize, The Sunday Times Alan Paton Award and was an inaugural winner of the Windham Campbell Literature Prize awarded by Yale University.

The presentation, followed by an open question and answer session, will take place from 17:30 – 19:00 on Thursday 24 March 2016 at Hiddingh Hall, UCT Hiddingh Campus, 31 – 37 Orange Street, Cape Town. Refreshments will be served from 17:00. No booking is necessary and all are welcome.

For more information, contact the GIPCA office: +27 21 650 7156 or For media enquiries, contact Sascha Polkey at Rabbit in a Hat Communications: +27 21 300 0052 or

Listen to the podcast here: Great Texts / Big Questions 24 March 2016 Jonny Steinberg

View the talk here: 


Start: 24 Mar ’16 5:00 pm

End: 24 Mar ’16 7:00 pm

Cost: Free


Organizer: GIPCA


Venue: Hiddingh Hall

Phone: +27 21 650 7156

Address: UCT Hiddingh Campus, 31 Orange Street, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa