Rally Honors O.C. Family : South Africa: The Newport Beach relatives of Amy Elizabeth Biehl address 300 people at the University of the Western Cape, where the slain woman worked.

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<i> From Associated Press</i>

A crowd of 300 black students cheered, raised clenched fists and sang the black national anthem Tuesday to honor the family of slain American Amy Elizabeth Biehl.

Friends who were with the Newport Beach woman when she was attacked and killed in the Guguletu black township joined her relatives in addressing the rally at the University of the Western Cape, where Biehl worked.

The 26-year-old Fulbright scholar was driving the three friends home on Aug. 25 when a mob of black youths stoned her car, hit her with a brick and stabbed her to death.


Evaron Orange, a mixed-race university student, said the last words Amy probably heard him say were: “Oh God, help us,” as the mob descended on the car.

“Amy didn’t say anything. She was just quiet even up to the end. She didn’t shout or panic,” he said.

“It just happened like lightning,” said Maletsatsi Macaba, her voice shaking. “No one could have prevented it.”

Sindiswa Bevu, who was stabbed in the hand as she tried to rescue Biehl, was too overcome by emotion to address the gathering.

Seven black males, including a 15-year-old, will be charged with Biehl’s slaying on Nov. 8. Witnesses said the mob shouted anti-white slogans as Biehl was stabbed.

The theme Tuesday was racial harmony, with Biehl’s family and friends expressing love for each other.


“Amy was more than a sister to me . . . she was prepared to work with the people,” Macaba said. “We all lost Amy and we grieve together with you.”

African National Congress regional leader Allan Boesak declared the Biehl family “part of us” as the crowd clapped, whistled and sang.

He said the nation’s first election to include blacks--scheduled April 27, the day after Biehl’s birthday--would be a victory for the ANC. Biehl was helping set up voter education programs during her 10 months in South Africa.

Peter Biehl, Amy’s father, told the crowd that Amy was “no more, no less than one of you,” while Scott Meinert, her fiance, called the students the future leaders of the country.

Bidding farewell to the family, the audience rose and, with clenched fists in the air, sang the black national anthem, “Lord Bless Africa.”