Eugene de Kock: Assassin for the State | Biography
'One day I summoned all my courage: ‘Eugene, how does it feel to kill another human being?’
His facial muscles involuntarily pulled in horror. ‘The person, the victim, gives off a smell,’ he says. ‘Even today I can still recall that smell. It makes me nauseous to the core of my being; that particular smell of fear that bursts through a person’s pores and his body fluid.’”
The blood of several anti-apartheid activists is on Eugene de Kock’s hands and for most South Africans he represents prime evil.
Is there any humaneness to be found in the man who many call a monster; and how did he come to be an ‘assassin for the state’? Anemari Jansen went in search of answers by looking at De Kock’s strict upbringing, his first exposure to gruesome scenes as a young police officer on the East Rand and in the Border War where he became a hunter of people.
Jansen had exclusive access to De Kock’s family as well as former Koevoet and Vlakplaas colleagues. She paints a picture of a highly intelligent but complex individual who was an outsider since childhood.
Jansen also quotes extensively from De Kock’s diaries and an unpublished manuscript. In his own words, De Kock is scathingly honest and he doesn’t shy away from describing atrocities in detail or identifying the superiors from whom he received his orders.
The book sketches an era and the environment in which Vlakplaas took place, but also offers a unique insight into De Kock’s soul and his humanity.
Listen to an interview with Anemari Jansen on Classicfm
Review on Daily Maverick