Two arrested in SA killing of 'beautiful American'

TWO YOUTHS were arrested yesterday in connection with the murder of an American university student stoned and then stabbed to death by a mob in Guguletu township, near Cape Town, on Wednesday.

Amy Biehl, 26, was to have flown back home to California last night after spending a year on a Fulbright scholarship at the University of the Western Cape. She studied women's issues but concentrated her energies into helping Cape Town's black community and developed close relationships with local African National Congress officials.

Kader Asmal, a law professor at the university and a member of the ANC's national executive, described her yesterday as 'a beautiful American'. 'She was in and out of the townships and was received well always. She was so gentle and so genuinely concerned with the emancipation and freedom of black South Africans. She had become one of us really, a part of the struggle.'

Biehl, whom Professor Asmal described as 'a very attractive blonde', was in Guguletu dropping off two black friends at their homes on Wednesday evening when a brick smashed through her car window. She was hit in the face but managed to drive on.

According to police and witnesses, youths lining the street pulled her out of her car and when she tried to flee was beaten and stabbed repeatedly until she died. The youths were chanting 'One settler] One bullet]', the battle- cry of the radical Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC). When one of her companions, Singiswa Bevu, pleaded with the attackers to let her go, one of them replied that they would not because she was 'a settler'. Ms Bevu was stabbed in the right hand when she tried physically to intervene.

Allan Boesak, the ANC chairman in the Cape Town area, did not hesitate to blame PAC, which enjoys more support in the Guguletu area than almost anywhere else in South Africa. 'This incident can only be described as racism in its crudest form,' Mr Boesak said. 'The ANC is deeply shocked and angered that such acts should take place at a time when all should be united in their efforts to achieve peace and racial tolerance in our country.'

Mr Boesak had pledged on Wednesday night that the ANC would use its township network 'to ferret out and identify these youths and to relay the information to the police'. After an all-night hunt by the police and ANC members, two suspects, aged 17 and 18, were arrested yesterday morning. The police said that the two would be charged with murder on Monday.

The dead woman's mother, Linda Biehl, was quoted yesterday as saying her daughter had wanted to give herself to the African people. Speaking from her home in Newport Beach, California, Mrs Biehl said: 'I was very worried about her, but she would say: 'Mom, I'm okay. I'm doing this because I want to do this. You can't live your life in a shell'.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Broker / Purchaser

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Call Centre Manager - OTE £50,000

£25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative online car purc...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'