Linda Biehl, the mother of Amy Biehl, holds up a photograph of her daughter during an interview in Pretoria Monday.
Victim’s mother honored
South Africa is honoring her for helping it overcome the legacy of apartheid, but Linda Biehl says she has simply done what any parent would after the death of a child: tried to find meaning in loss.
Amy Biehl was stabbed and stoned to death in the waning days of apartheid in a township near Cape Town, where she was studying how women were contributing to change in South Africa. Her black assailants claimed the attack on the 26-year-old American, who was white, was part of the war on white rule.
"People don’t want a death to be in vain or senseless," Linda Biehl said Monday — her 65th birthday and the eve of a ceremony at which President Thabo Mbeki is to grant her one of his nation’s highest honors.
Biehl and her husband, Peter, who died in 2002, forgave the four men convicted in their daughter’s 1993 slaying, and embraced the truth and reconciliation process on which South Africa embarked after white rule ended in 1994.