Anti-GBV activists rally in honour of slain 48-year-old Brenda Mqela
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Cape Town - Bystanders who turn a blind eye when acts of gender-based violence are committed in their neighbourhoods should do some introspection, Ilitha Labantu founder Mandisa Monakali said.
Monakali was speaking after Gugulethu civil society groups and the community congregated at the spot where the body of 48-year-old Brenda Mqela on Thursday, a daughter of Ilitha Labantu anti-GBV activist was found after she was killed allegedly by her 66- year-old boyfriend last week.
Family spokesperson Wam Mqela said the couple had an altercation and neighbours alerted the police after they heard screams coming from the house.
“From what we saw from the scene, she was trying to get out of the door as she was on her knees trying to escape. We are trying to stay strong, and it's really hard for us as a family as she was the first-born,” Mqela said.
Gugulethu Ward councillor Luvuyo Zondani said the community was disgusted and disappointed.
“We have seen the ongoing attack on women, children and vulnerable people with disabilities, and to respond to that we have initiated programmes that are running in our ward looking at teaching the community about this scourge. It is sad to be finding ourselves mourning every day women killed instead of celebrating the 25 years of democracy,” he said.
ANCYL task team Convener Nonceba Mhlauli said there were thousands of women killed in the same way Mqela was killed.
“Each and every day we hear of young women being brutally murdered by their intimate partners and it doesn't get better. I thought about how scared she must have been and about the times she would have tried to leave but couldn't. I thought about other Brendas who are currently in the same situation who are unable to leave their abusive relationships.
Others that try to leave, but don't get the support they need and get dismissed by police. We have failed Brenda, but let's not fail other young women who are still alive. In the name of Brenda, we should awaken our consciousness and report what is not right. We live with these perpetrators, they are our close friends and family members but we do not report them,” she said.
Gugulethu police spokesperson Nokuzola Pele said the majority of these incidents occurred during the day with eye-witnesses present but when police seek information, nobody comes forward.
Pele called on the justice system to successfully prosecute perpetrators as she said their release reversed the work done by police and communities.