Politics and Society
#IamNext: The abhorrent reality of femicide in South Africa
The brutal murder of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana in Cape Town, South Africa inside the Claremont Post Office has shocked and terrified women all around the continent. The ongoing prevalence of femicide speaks to the apathy of men and the inaction of state.
The disappearance of 19-year-old first year Film and Media student at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa, Uyinene Mrwetyana led to an extensive search by private investigators, police, friends and fellow students. The investigation led to the arrest of a 42-year-old man who was charged with rape, murder and defeating the ends of justice.
The man is an employee at the Claremont post office, which was one of the places Uyinene was seen alive. Court prosecutor Nomnikelo Konisi said blood was found inside the post office and the man’s car. Later reports state that he man confessed to the murder, and led police to where her Mrwetyana body was.
It is always an ethical dilemma whether to share the finer details of the brutality any victim has faced let alone in their final moments. However, in hopes of highlighting how dire women’s safety has become we share court prosecutor Nomnikelo Konisi’s description of the horrific murder.
Konisi is quoted by IOL News saying, “The student went to the post office to inquire about a parcel but was told by the accused to come back later because the electricity was off at that time. She returned and he was alone at the post office.
“He locked the door, assaulted her and penetrated her…and she fought back. When he heard her screaming, he took a scale inside the post office and hit her. He then dumped her body in Lingelethu West. Blood was found inside the post office and on his shoe when he was arrested”.
The revelation of extent of the brutality has sent shockwaves through the University’s social circles, and across the continent.
According to IOL News, University spokesperson Nombuso Shabalala said: “The university executive remains deeply distressed by the unacceptable levels of violence against women and the marginalised in South African society on a daily basis.”
“The UCT executive will be meeting urgently to discuss how we can commemorate Nene’s life and the many in our society who are affected by violence”.
In the wake of the news students gathered to hold an overnight vigil for Mrwetyana.
#UyineneMrwetyana UCT students are gathering at the Jammie Plaza this evening for a night vigil in honour of first year student Uyinene Mrwetyana. @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/sDOBQBH3Tq
— Kamva Somdyala (@kamva_somdyala) September 2, 2019
Accounts of Femicide continue to increase despite women led campaigns, demonstrations and activism against it. Young women and girls are no longer safe to exist. Worse still victim blaming has put women in the daunting position of knowing no matter what they do towards their personal safety society will always blame them for the violence perpetrated against them.
This sentiment of hopeless sparked the hashtag “IamNext”, a testament to the harsh reality women are faced with on a daily basis.
South African women are calling for an end to “quiet diplomacy” and demanding swift state intervention in declaring GBV as a national emergency that carries maximum sentencing.
This feels like a hard sell as even the SA government is not immune to victim blaming.
In the end the lamentation remains, UNTIL WHEN?
In solidarity with the all the women saying enough I shall henceforth use the term “male perpetrated violence” in place of the passive phrase “violence against women”. All in the hope that language can influence change and quite literally save lives.
The President @PresidencyZA is blue ticking us you'll 💔😠#iamNext #RIPUyineneMrwetyana
— uMntwana waseNdlunkulu yamaQadi ✨ (@SlindyMaMtolo) September 3, 2019
@PresidencyZA @GovernmentZA Get it right 😠😠 #RIPUyineneMrwetyana #iamNext #MenAreTrash pic.twitter.com/8z8f2WOE6E
— Mrs Songs to you❤️ (@PortiaMatjila) September 3, 2019
Today my kids, 12-yo son and 5-yo daughter, and I laid flowers at the spot where 13-yo Janika Mallo’s body was discovered on Sunday morning after she was brutally raped, killed by 3 teens.
My heart is still in pieces. I am still in shock. #WeAreTrash #Uyinene #SaferWorldForGirls pic.twitter.com/BmNptHKCvK
— Lionel Adendorf (@LionelAdendorf) September 2, 2019
The thing about this # is that it’s not just a trending # it’s the reality that women face around the world . We are living in fear . #AmINext pic.twitter.com/AL4WGJaERL
— KingstonGirl🍁 🇰🇪 (@Lsankei99) September 2, 2019
My thoughts! #SAShutdown #iamNext pic.twitter.com/a9hxgBONez
— Dr Marcia Lebambo (@marcialebambo) September 3, 2019
#iamNext #ShutDownSA #DearMrPresident
What must it take, for the government to take serious actions.
how many women, young girls must go missing, raped, tutored, brutally killed before this is taken seriously we ask
— Prof Mzolisto⚪™ (@ZolaAmanda) September 3, 2019