For Ahmed Timol, his family and his anti-apartheid struggle comrades, justice may have been delayed – by almost exactly 46 years – but it was not denied yesterday when a high court inquest found he was murdered by security police interrogators.
The police claimed Timol had leapt to his death from police headquarters in Johannesburg in October 1971, while undergoing questioning. That claim was later confirmed by a judicial inquest.
Yesterday, though, Judge Billy Mothle turned history on its head by ruling that Timol had been tortured and murdered.
He also recommended that some of the police personnel who are still alive should be investigated and possibly charged for various offences. The judgment will not bring Timol back, but it will bring closure to his family and friends.
But, more importantly, it will confirm the brutality of the apartheid regime and underline why the system was declared a crime against humanity. Timol, therefore, died a hero.
He gave his life so that this country would be a better place. His sacrifice is a timely reminder of the other, often unsung, heroes of the struggle.
They died for democracy, for equality and for freedom. Let us not forget those lofty ideals.