Lihle Qwabe’s sister Popi Qwabe and a friend, Bongeka Phungula, were found killed in Soweto in May this year. Popi was travelling with Bongeka to Maponya Mall on a Friday evening in a minibus taxi... they never returned home.
They were found dead the following Monday near Tladi in Soweto after several attempts to reach them on their cellphones, which were off the whole weekend. The girls’ cellphones and other possessions, and blood, were found in a taxi.
Lihle Qwabe. Picture: Marinus Gerber.
Qwabe has organised a naked photo shoot to convey a message to the government and society as a whole that “the way a woman dresses is her choice and she should not be abused because of what she chooses to wear”.
“As women we get undressed every single day by men. They harass us and this is seemingly relative to black women; we take taxis every day and get harassed. Some men seem to think that because I smile with him he has a right to rape me.
“Because of my clothes he has a right to sexually violate me, which is totally wrong, and we as women do not feel safe at all,” says Qwabe.
Given that the taxi drivers who allegedly killed Qwabe and Phungula were released on bail, Qwabe feels that justice in South Africa has failed her and all the other women who have been victims of abuse at the hands of men.
Raising awareness against the women and children abuse.
“My question is that as young women in South Africa, is this the extent we have to go through in order to be heard ? In order to get justice? In order for society to take violence against women and children as a serious case?” she asks.
“I organised this naked shoot for women to help me find justice for my late sister, my best friend Phungula... and all the other women who were abused and murdered with no justice at the end.”
In 2008, a woman was attacked by taxi drivers at the Noord Street taxi rank for wearing a miniskirt.
Then in March this year there were reports about people in a minibus taxi who were collecting and raping women. Taxi drivers were arrested in connection with this.
“Three men have been arrested in connection with a spate of rapes by an alleged gang travelling in a Quantum minibus around Johannesburg,” reported City Press. “Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and the National Taxi Alliance recently revealed that a minibus and the suspects have been identified, in a breakthrough for the case.”
“Women and children should dress the way they want and be protected at all cost,” says Qwabe.
“This should be an everyday thing, and not just during the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.”
To see the exhibition, connect with @qwabekazi_ on instagram and Qwabekazi Qwabe on Facebook