Sandile Mantsoe is believed to have burnt and murdered his girlfriend Karabo Mokoena who went missing. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/ANA Pictures
Johannesburg – In death Karabo Mokoena’s suffering has been given a voice through the confessions of women who experienced abuse at the hands of men.

Their stories are shocking, heart-wrenching and horrible and they were shared under #MenAreTrash.

The hashtag began trending shortly after it was revealed that Mokoena’s body had been found and her boyfriend Sandile Mantswe arrested.

One of those who told her story was @princessxsego. “My dad used to abuse me. He used to hit me till I was black and blue. I never understood why & for what?” she tweeted.

“It wasn't an everyday thing, but it was frequent. I only told my mom about a year ago.

“He pushed my head against the floor & kept on telling me that if I move he’s gonna kill me. My mom arriving early literally saved me. #MenAreTrash.”

On Friday, Mantswe, 27, made his first appearance in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s court for murder. In a charged courtroom Mokoena’s family and friends filled the public gallery.

According to the police, Mokoena was killed before her body was set alight and then buried in Bramley, north of Joburg. She had been missing since April 28. Family and friends of the 22-year-old took to social media to try and find her. In the hours after it became known she was dead, social media was abuzz with stories of abuse.

@TthandoM tweeted: “We got drunk he offered we go to his place to crash and we didn’t have a problem. Got there I was sick, throwing up and all. He was helpful.

“Until he started touching me, fought him off until it became a fight. He beat me out his complex, tore my clothes.

“I was butt naked when he dragged me to the gate, the security guy saved me. He kept swearing at me 'cos I didn't wanna sleep with him.”

Sarah Williams tweeted: “I was in pain. My ex wanted to have sex. I said no. He forced himself on me anyway and I couldn’t fight back because of the pain I was in.

@ISarchotic tweeted: “Gang raped, beaten and left for dead. But it was “ok” because “at least you knew him” – 2010 I was 28 and had to have a hysterectomy.”

Both the DA and the EFF were in court to support the family. Also present was Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi.

The magistrate ruled the media could film and take pictures of Mantswe because he deemed it of public interest and Mantswe's images were already on social media.

Mantswe is facing a count of premeditated murder and defeating the ends of justice.

Court proceedings were briefly halted when EFF members refused to leave the courtroom after the magistrate said no political regalia was allowed.

Speaking to the media outside court, Mokoena’s uncle, Tshepo Mokoena, said Karabo’s death had caught the family offguard and that the matter was now in God’s hands. “We knew him, but not well, it was a 7-month-old relationship.”

NPA spokeswoman Phindi Mjonondwane said despite reports, Mantswe had not confessed to the murder.

“There was no record of the accused confessing to the murder, only pointing out the scene,” Mjonondwane said.

“The State will be opposing bail. South Africa has a problem with domestic violence and to decrease the scourge we need to be up in arms as the State.”

The case was postponed to May 24, for Mantswe to apply for bail.

In a separate incident of gender violence, Patrick Wisani, the former ANC Youth League regional leader, was sentenced to 20 years on Thursday for murdering girlfriend Nosipho Mandleleni with a sjambok.

On Friday, EFF leader Julius Malema tweeted: "It is a sad day indeed for our country & in particular 4 our young South African women. 2day I’m not proud 2 be South African man. #RIPKarabo.”

Saturday Star