Sex, colour and immorality were the three words which rocketted the small Orange free State township of Excelsior into world headlines and gave it a kind of fame - a fame which it is now trying to forget.
Sex, colour and immorality were the three words which rocketted the small Orange free State township of Excelsior into world headlines and gave it a kind of fame - a fame which it is now trying to forget. The trial of five prominent white citizens and 14 African girls, accused under South Africa's Immorality Act, was stopped only minutes before it was due to begin on Tuesday (January 26), when the Prosecution dramatically dropped the charges.
The Immorality Act outlaws sex between people of different races. Excelsior's population of 700 breathed a sigh of relief when the Prosecution announced that State Witnesses were no longer willing to give evidence in the case which shocked South Africans.
The withdrawal of the widely publicised case failed to halt calls for repeal of the stringent Immorality Act, a piece of legislation unique to South Africa.
This latest sex-colour headliner is considered certain to provoke fresh demands for a Committee of Inquiry into the Act under which more than 7,000 people have been prosecuted in the last eight years.
For small-town Excelsior the case, with its allegations of white farmers having illicit affairs with African girls meant shame and, in one case, tragedy. A sixth white defendant committed suicide while on bail.
Excelsior's Mayor Andries Lombard said after the brief hearing that the townspeople were relieved at the outcome, having believed in the innocence of those charged.
Mayor Lombard told a reporter about his town and its people:
Excelsior will work hard to regain the anonymity it once cherished.