Corporal Punishment – South African Style

An interesting video clip of a South African caning has been doing the rounds and can be viewed by clicking this link, South African Caning. [Note 27 July … My apologies but this link appears to have been taken down by Google … I will attempt to find another link on the web … RH]

The instrument being wielded by the hard-faced disciplinarian is a sjambok, a cane made from adult hippopotamus or rhino hide. As can be seen from the video clip it is quite an extreme instrument. The recipient is clearly not enjoying herself!

In recent years use of the sjambok has largely been prohibited in South Africa due to its connections with the bad old days of apartheid. The commentator on the video clip places the ‘re-enactment’ as a punishment from the late nineteen-fifties, however, there is evidence that it was still in use in certain ‘judicial’ proceedings as recently as the early nineteen-seventies.

At that time information coming out of South Africa was sparse due to the political climate. R Humphries attention was caught by an article in one of the alternative, underground magazines that floated around London at the time which mentioned the plight of a British-born mother and daughter in Johannesburg.

Apparently the woman and her daughter, who was visiting from an English boarding school, were caught driving in a restricted area without the proper travel papers in place. They were arrested suspected of colluding with the ANC.

According to the article these charges were highly spurious and unlikely. The woman was a reputable business woman, normally resident in Cape Town and had most likely just got lost.

According to the report they were denied counsel and appeared before some kind of kangaroo tribunal where they were found guilty (sounds a lot like most of the inmates at the Woody Back to School Unit). They were both sentenced to a ‘lashing’, which was the approved formal legalese at the time.

I should mention that the article was of a political nature and the mention of the lashings was incidental. However, it did supply several nuggets. The daughter of the piece was sentenced to six ‘cuts’ of the standard cane. She informed the journalist that “it hurt quite a lot but we get caned far harder at school”. The article cited the name of the extremely expensive school that she attended but as it is still in operation and doubtless has more funds available in its legal war-chest than the impoverished R Humphries I shall not mention it by name.

The business-woman was less fortunate and was sentenced to twelve strokes of the sjambok. Unfortunately details were sketchy save to say that she was stripped to the waist and secured over the lashing bench with wrist and ankle restraints before being lashed with the fearsome sjambok.

Apparently the woman was understandably aggrieved by her ill-treatment and attempted to seek compensation from the authorities. Despite medical evidence that she had incurred severe weals during the lashing, the mandarins in Pretoria denied any knowledge of the incident and refuted the existence of secret punishment silos. She was informed that should she continue to pursue her claim her residency would be rescinded. Due to the stringent restrictions on the movement of currency that were in place during that period she would to all extents and purposes be rendered homeless and penniless.

I have searched the archives of but the particular article is not available, although, however, the site does contain some interesting material regarding the wide use of corporal punishment in South Africa during that period.

Bottoms Up! Thanks for stopping by … RH

Don’t Forget – Free Chapters of the Woody Back to School Unit spanking saga are available at the Woodettes Publications Page.

4 responses

  1. Orpheus … Thank you for the observation … I was just recounting an incident I read about many years ago … I’m an author of stories of a particular taste .. and try to write without causing any offense to people who visit my page … I apologize if you feel offended … RH

  2. According to Corpun these judicial caning punishments in SA were only given to males, especially boys from as young as 9 and mostly young teens. They were very common and a daily

    occurance in many courts since it was the standard sentence for underage offenders instead of prison. However it was not allowed on females according to records. What I found interesting is the interview with that police officer who used to carry out these canings who said that many times the girls who worked at these courts would sneak down to the court underground cells where these canings were carried out to watch the boys being caned, usually on their bare buttocks. These girls must have had a treat because there were usually a group of about five boys present in the cell who had to wait in line for their punishment completely exposed with their pants down. Those were the days.

    1. Well I bow to the wisdom of Corpun … I probably read that article in Time Out which was notoriously left wing and the journalist might have used artistic licence … nonetheless it makes for a good yarn so I am not particularly inclined towards issuing a retraction … lol … thanks for stopping by and commenting … Bottoms Up … RH

  3. If you are visiting any international country, and you break their laws. Then you deserve to be punished by their laws; So the mother and daughter who visited South Africa, had only themselves to blame, when they were sentenced to be corporally chastised in that country. If I had been the judge, I would have sentenced these two naughty females, the double amount of corporal chastisement each received. The daughter would have received 12 strokes of the cane on her bare bottom. The mother 24 such lashes on her naked rear end.

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