While the Mrwetyana family were not physically present at the commemorative service, a letter on behalf of the family was sent to be read at the event. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
While the Mrwetyana family were not physically present at the commemorative service, a letter on behalf of the family was sent to be read at the event. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Activists pay tribute to slain UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana two years on

By Nomalanga Tshuma Time of article published Aug 25, 2021

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Cape Town - Almost two years after the rape and murder of then first-year UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana, friends, acquaintances and anti-gender-based violence (GBV) activists gathered outside the Clareinch post office in Claremont where she was murdered, to remember her life and pay tribute to other slain GBV victims.

The event, organised by the area’s sector chairperson Kate Christie, saw a number of young men and women show up in support of the anti-GBV cause and to pay tribute to Uyinene and many other young women who have lost their lives at the hands of violent perpetrators over the years.

Mrwetyana’s murder made headlines in August 2019, when after her disappearance, her last known location was traced back to the seemingly quaint post office, where employee Luyanda Botha raped and murdered her.

“As a woman and a mother to a young woman, Uyinene’s death hit close to home for me. It’s not only because it happened three blocks from my home but that she was a young talented woman with a bright future, she didn’t deserve to be cruelly murdered,” said Christie.

“Today, I wanted to celebrate her life, her talents and stand together with her family, who I know are going through a difficult time today. As a mother, my heart goes out to Mme Mwretyana and her family, I can’t even imagine what she and every mother who has lost their child to such heinous crimes is going through. We owe it to our young girls to keep fighting for a better and safer South Africa.”

While the Mrwetyana family were not physically present at the commemorative service, a letter on behalf of the family was sent to be read at the event. In it, the family addressed and thanked all persons, groups, organisations and government bodies who have been working to raise awareness regarding GBV in liaison with the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation during the past two years.

The family said that, while they have been mourning and coming to terms with what happened to their daughter over the years, the public’s unwavering support and vigour to advocate for the fight against GBV had given them strength and kept them going.

“The site on which you are standing has not lost its meaning to us. A site that was supposed to serve our people but ended up being used by evil forces to perpetuate hatred. We are with you in spirit as we continue to cleanse this site through such commemorations and prayer meetings.”

Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez said: “We need the whole of society including men, employers and civil society, to support us in our fight against GBV and commit to playing a role in eliminating the social injustices women bear witness to because of actions by men. One woman and/or child violated is one too many.”

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Cape Argus

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