Khensani Maseko’s white coffin at her packed funeral service held at the Nasrec Memorial Park in Johannesburg, on Women’s Day yesterday. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/African News Agency (ANA)
THE WEEPING mother of Khensani Maseko paid a heartfelt tribute to her "wonderful" daughter at her funeral yesterday.

Maseko, 23, took her own life after a rape ordeal at Rhodes University where she was a student.

It was significant that her funeral was held on Women’s Day,on which political leaders across the spectrum decried the rape and abuse of women.

Thembi Thobile Maseko, who is devastated by the loss of her beloved daughter, wrote her a message which was read out by Sandiso Maseko at the packed service in Alberton.

The grief-stricken mother likened Khensani to a star like her second name, Nkanyezi, and said she had excelled throughout her life.

“‘When I took you for your Grade 1 assessment test, your score far exceeded the set benchmark When I watched you run a 100m sprint or relay, you dashed like a star.

"When you had your matric dance, you wanted a sparkling dress In your own words, you said you wanted to sparkle like a chandelier

“When you went to university, you continued to shine like a star, while entrenched in constructive and meaningful student activities,” read her message.

She expressed her gratitude for the years she had had with Khensani and said she did not know how she would carry on without her.

Khensani, a third-year law student at Rhodes University, committed suicide at the family home last week. She had been depressed following a rape ordeal in May, which she later reported to the university authorities.

The EFF's Gauteng leadership, represented by Mandisa Mashego, called for satellite police stations to be made available at universities, together with compulsory modules for students that tackle mental well-being.

"She said the policies at present did not help."

Khensani was an EFF student leader on the Rhodes campus.

Rhodes vice-chancellor Sizwe Mabizela said: “Khensani’s death has once again raised our nation’s anger and frustration. Her death must force us to pause and reflect deeply on the kind of society we have become.There are number of important lessons for us.

“Among others, we must pay attention to how we raise and socialise a boy child into manhood. They need to be taught to interact with other people, women in particular, in a loving and caring way.

“We also need to recognise that the majority of sexual offenders are the people who profess to love and care

"We also need to identify and challenge behaviours that lead to sexual abuse and confront toxic masculinity."

He said the scourge of gender-based violence should be first fought in the home.

“Each time we turn and look away when someone is demeaned, dehumanised and violated, we become complicit in that act

"And we dishonour the memory of Khensani and thousands of other women who have suffered the indignity of being violated,” said Mabizela.