IN PRISON SINCE 1996: Eugene de Kock at the TRC hearings in 1997. His total sentence was 212 years plus two life sentences.

Johannesburg - “I have no idea what the world looks like. I can’t even answer a cellphone,” Eugene de Kock, the convicted apartheid-police hit squad commander, told Rapport in 2009.

And if De Kock steps out of C-Max in Pretoria a free man soon, it will be into a world that has changed very fast in the nearly 20 years he has spent behind bars. A world where a BlackBerry is not a bittersweet fruit, where Apple is no longer just an apple and green is not a colour, but a trendy lifestyle choice.

It’s a fiercely digital world, run by the internet. To reconnect with old friends, the former Vlakplaas leader can ditch the phonebook for Facebook. To get his message out, he will need to think in 140 characters.

For De Kock, it will be a brave new world of tweeps and twerps and twerks, of selfies, navigating laptops and GPS. Watching videos, not on VHS (what did that stand for again?), but online on YouTube. Oh yes, and TVs are flat now, not square boxes.

It’s a world where people can open their cars and dump their girlfriends using cellphone Apps. That’s an App, Mr de Kock, not an Appie. A world where cars can run on batteries – not fuel. But who needs a car when you don’t even need to go inside a shop, or a bank? You can do everything online.

In South Africa, gays can get married now, 12-year-olds can have abortions on demand and parents can be locked up for spanking their children.

Oh yes, and Potgietersrus doesn’t exist anymore. It’s now Mokopane. – Saturday Star