Cynthia Doubell’s granddaughter, Aneeqah, remembered her as the family's matriarch, a great teacher, leader and caregiver with value and morals. Cynthia Doubell, 93, was raped and killed on the first day of Women’s Month, allegedly by a man who lived in her house.
Cynthia Doubell’s granddaughter, Aneeqah, remembered her as the family's matriarch, a great teacher, leader and caregiver with value and morals. Cynthia Doubell, 93, was raped and killed on the first day of Women’s Month, allegedly by a man who lived in her house.

Brutal rape and killing of Cynthia Doubell, 93, leaves Bellville community in shock

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Aug 16, 2021

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Cape Town - The brutal rape and killing of 93-year-old Cynthia Doubell from Bellville South on the first day of Women’s month, allegedly by a man who lived in her house, has sent shockwaves though her crime-ridden community.

At the weekend, activists, neighbours and family members gathered in front of the Doubell household to honour and celebrate her life while protesting against GBV and femicide.

Keegan Samuels, 25, made his first appearance in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. However, the matter was postponed due to a Covid-19 case and a formal bail hearing will be heard on Thursday. Meanwhile the community has started a petition to oppose bail for the aqccused.

Doubell’s granddaughter, Aneeqah, said her grandmother died because she believed that she had to be in her house and that she needed to be there for the people she housed, sacrificing herself physically.

“We are saddened by her passing. I don't think anyone comprehends what the family is going through. If my grandmother died a natural death, it would have been better, but we need to remember that she was ripped away from this Earth more brutally than anything I can imagine. Her words when I would visit her were that she wanted to die in her own home but I never imagined that her death would be this horrific,” she said.

Aneeqah said her grandmother would remain as the family’s matriarch, a great teacher, leader and caregiver with value and morals. She said she aspired to be the woman that her grandmother was.

Human Rights Defenders co-ordinator Caroline Peters said Doubell’s death had set the tone for the rest of the sombre Women’s Month.

“Just last week a young woman in Browns Farm, Philippi, was brutally killed and her body was found mutilated. In both these instances the perpetrators were known to the victim. This further proves that women are not safe even in their homes and that women suffer such violence by people related to them,” she said.

Researcher Lisa Vetten said while there was focus on the murder of women by their intimate partners, their murder by family members was rarely talked about.

“Last year, police reported that 336 women had been murdered within their families. It’s very important that the scourge is raised and is understood as a problem that is happening and needs attention. We appreciate the Human Rights Defenders for their campaign that brings attention to the murder of older women, which often gets overlooked.

“These women tend to be keeping families together through their wisdom, generosity and their life experience, and when they die it is not only their lives that are lost but also those that they helped to create and sustain,” she said.

Peters said they hoped that by obtaining justice for Doubell they would be paving the way for justice for other women killed in a similar manner.

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