Curious onlookers, journalists and cameramen had been waiting at the court’s Paul Kruger Street entrance, where the nyala had been parked in front of a roller door, its engine idling.
Due to construction work the street had been turned into a dirt road and was closed to traffic. People stood on the edge of the trenches that had been dug alongside the entrance.
One cameraman had climbed into a jacaranda tree. Others were perched on the roof of the building opposite. People peered out of the windows of their flats. One man sold ice lollies for R2 each.
A continuous whistling and chirping sound circulated through the crowd. It came from a man wearing a tatty purple wig and face paint who was making the sound with something in his mouth.
An Australian TV journalist stood near the Nyala holding a microphone, squinting into the sun, a device with a little antenna poking out of it strapped to the back of her dress. The wind plucked jacaranda blossoms off the trees.
Then a shout went through the crowd. Dust rose into the air as the photographers who had piled themselves on the yellow plastic barriers around the nyala rose to their feet. The man with the purple wig was among them.
The entire crowd seemed to rise and move forward. The roller door behind the nyala opened. There was shouting and jostling and the clicking of cameras. After a brief commotion behind the wall of bodies the door of the nyala slid shut.
“Hey Pistorius,” someone shouted. Camera flashes reflected off the side of the nyala as it began to move forward and photographers pressed against it, their cameras held above their heads, blindly shooting photos, nothing but silhouettes visible inside.
A police van, sirens wailing and lights flashing, preceded the Nyala carrying Pistorius down the street, followed by several police cars.
Around the corner prosecutor Gerrie Nel walked out of the court through the Madiba Street entrance, the wheels of his heavy black case rattling as he pulled it behind him.