Posts in Local News
Karel Schoeman – a private life, a public death ~ Marianne Thamm

In life, one of South Africa’s most prolific and celebrated historians, novelists and translators, Karel Schoeman, was notoriously hermitic, shunning most contact with the outside world. Schoeman’s self delivery – or suicide – on Monday at the age of 77 has once again opened the debate about the legal right to die with dignity in South Africa. He wanted it that way.

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So that is indeed enough: Karel Schoeman and assisted dying ~ Jacques Rousseau

"I want to hope that my death will contribute to a wider discussion than is currently the case on the major problem of old age, as well as the general issue of self-determination, and above all that it might assist to bring about amendments to the current South African legislation pertaining to self-determination.

In this way, it is enough."

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David Patient, renowned AIDS activist, in his own words

I know many people reading this find what I did flies against everything they stand for, however, the vast majority who do object, I have found, have never personally helped someone die at that level of intimacy, so their objections are either religious, ethical or academic, and hold very little weight in my book. I doubt many have the stomach for what really happens when someone is dying.

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Desmond Tutu: I want right to end my life through assisted dying

TUTU: “Today, I myself am even closer to the departures hall than arrivals, so to speak, and my thoughts turn to how I would like to be treated when the time comes. Now more than ever, I feel compelled to lend my voice to this cause.” He believed in the sanctity of life but also that terminally ill people should not be forced to endure terrible pain and suffering, he wrote. Instead they should have control over the manner and timing of their death.

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My dad was robbed of a dignified death ~ Derek Davey

Consequently, as I cleared my conscience in a sort of one-sided, three-day confession (had he been able to talk, I’m sure he would have begged me to stop) he writhed in discomfort, contorting to such an extent that he almost sat upright at times and ended up in nigh-impossible backbends. It all left me wondering why the doctors were unable or unwilling to administer a merciful coup de grace. I was at times tempted to put him out of his agony with a pillow, like Chief Bromden did in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but I ended up just chanting mantras. I didn’t know what else to do. 

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Dignity, a touchstone of our democracy ~ Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar

Initially, when I thought about my column this week, I plotted a path of struggling with the topic of euthanasia or assisted suicide. However, I opted to shift that approach as both of my grandmothers are in private hospitals having been able to ‘contract out’ of the public healthcare system. The notion of ‘contracting out’ highlighted the disparity that so many people face on a day-to-day basis and sadly, even in death.

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Constitutionally Speaking: Moral views of some cannot justify infringement of rights of others ~ Pierre de Vos

The judgment is ground-breaking because it once again affirms that in a constitutional democracy in which the value of dignity is fundamental, the human dignity and autonomy of some may not be sacrificed in order to enforce the narrow moral or religious beliefs of a certain section of society on the population as a whole.

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No easy answers on assisted suicide

 "Palliative care is enormously important, but it is mischievous to see what we stand for as an alternative. The two should coexist.

Prof. Landman: "It is alarmist scare-mongering to suggest doctors and nurses will turn into killers and family members will try to hasten death to inherit. This is not a principled argument. I am really worried that the constitutional argument is not featuring in the response from government."


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Assisted dying: not only God can decide – in fact, She can’t decide at all ~ Jacques Rousseau

Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi: “Doctors are human and make mistakes too. They can say a person has a few weeks left to live, based on medical observation, but only God can decide when a person dies. As much as doctors played an important role in bringing life to this world, they should not be given the right to end it because they did not create it in the first place.

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These were the circumstances of Mario Oriani-Ambrosini's passing ~ Mangosuthu Buthelezi

In his last moments, Dr Ambrosini sent a message to a few of his closest friends, describing his physical condition and saying farewell. He wrote -

"I am dying in peace and serenity surrounded by the love of my family and friends. I am dying at a time when I feel ready. I feel in the grace of God and part of His passion and in that sense relieved and saved. My last thoughts are with my child and I hope you may give him some of the love and guidance I would like him to receive. Thank you for your friendship and love which I feel with me at this time." ~ Mario Oriani-Ambrosini

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