Remembering Uyinene Mrwetyana, a year since UCT student's brutal murder

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ToBeConfirmed

Published Aug 24, 2020

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Cape Town – Today marks one year since the brutal rape and murder of 19-year-old UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana.

Post Office worker Luyanda Botha, 42, was tried and convicted of the crimes and sentenced to life behind bars.

The murder took place at the Clarenreich Post Office in Claremont on August 24.

On Sunday, brightly coloured ribbons adorned the entrance of the post office and flowers were placed by a few who visited the site in remembrance of Mrwetyana.

Her rape and murder and those of several other women during the weeks prior to her killing gave rise to widespread protests and calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa to take tougher action against gender-based violence (GBV).

Although the investigation and sentencing in this case were concluded in less than three months, countless survivors and families of victims are still fighting for a semblance of justice after other, similar crimes.

Today marks the 1 year anniversary since the rape and murder of 19-year-old, Uyinene Mrwetyana. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency
Today marks the 1 year anniversary since the rape and murder of 19-year-old, Uyinene Mrwetyana. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency
Today marks the 1 year anniversary since the rape and murder of 19-year-old, Uyinene Mrwetyana. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency

In Philippi, the body of Nomvuzo Atoli, 22, was found at a dumping site in Siyanyanzela informal settlement last Thursday.

On June 20, the body of Amahle Quku, 17, was discovered, bruised and naked in Albert Luthuli Street, Browns Farm.

In Philippi, the body of Nomvuzo Atoli, 22, was found at a dumping site in Siyanyanzela informal settlement last Thursday.
On June 20, the body of Amahle Quku, 17, was discovered, bruised and naked in Albert Luthuli Street, Browns Farm. Picture: Supplied

Women and anti GBV activists who participated in last year’s protests reflected on the year that has now passed since Mrwetyana's murder.

Jacqueline Cupido from Manenberg said GBV was not taken seriously and the cries of women and children were not heard.

Cupido, who has had to report cases of GBV with survivors said the process was "pathetic".

“Many perpetrators know that our justice system is weak and they get away with the crimes so they will continue re-offending.

"They get smarter in how they victimise women and children, leaving the victims more scared in the process of reporting the crime.”

UWC student Bronwyn February, participated in last year’s protests on campus.

“Our system is deliberately against us – especially our policing system.

"Our police question the fact that you are a victim,” she said.

Manenberg community activist Roegchanda Pascoe said victims of GBV would instead turn to activists when reporting a crime instead of the departments meant to assist them.

"A perpetrator is more likely to be released in the same week if not the same day the crime is reported, only to come back and intimidate the survivor more or – even worse – share a roof with the survivor,” Mbayo said.

Last year the murders of Uyinene Mrwetyana, Jesse Hess, Leighandré Jegels, Janika Mallo, Lynette Volschenk and Meghan Cremer sparked a day of rage as South Africans across the spectrum held several protests and marches calling for harsher sentences.

Uyinene Mrwetyana, Leigh Ann Jegels, Meghan Cremer, Jesse Hess.

Also see: PHOTO ESSAY: Femicide, GBV spark day of rage, mourning as residents take to the streets

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