Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has erected a memorial fountain at the campus to honour the late Zolile Khumalo, which will also affirm MUT’s stand against gender-based violence.
MUT Council Chairperson Morailane Morailane said they decided to erect the fountain to remind the institution how it failed Zolile and to help eradicate the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa.
Khumalo, a first year quantity surveying student was allegedly shot and killed at an off-campus residence by her ex-boyfriend.
“On the days of Zolile’s funeral, I made a promise to her family that after the tragic loss of their daughter, we as the university will do the utmost we can do to ensure that we fight against gender-based violence and further keep the light of Zolile burning by erecting a memorial fountain on the campus.”
“Zolile’s destiny may have been destroyed on May 1 this year but as a university we refuse to forget her memory and what she could have achieved had her life not been so brutally and abruptly taken away. This fountain will serve as a memory of Zolile - who was once one of us - who, however, did not live long enough to see her full potential,” said Marailane.
Zolile’s parents, Comfort and Philisiwe Khumalo were present at the opening of the memorial fountain.
The family’s spokesperson, Mabongi Myeni, said they were very happy that the university has been with them from the beginning until now.
“We are glad that Zolile still lives in the heart of the university just like she still lives in our hearts. We are still on the pursuit of justice as we are going back to court on Wednesday to see justice for our daughter being served,” said Myeni.
The institution used the inauguration ceremony of the University’s newly appointed Vice Chancellor, Dr Enoch Duma Malaza, to formally open the memorial fountain and to also officially unveil its 640 bed on-campus student residence. Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Naledi Pandor, together with Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, who is also the Chancellor of MUT, officiated proceedings.
Malaza was appointed MUT’s Vice Chancellor days before Khumalo’s death.
The University’s spokesperson, Bheki Hlophe said the fountain will serve as MUT’s commitment to student safety.
Pandor announced that of the R90 billion her department allocated to higher education and training, R20 million was given to MUT to complete (and/or) to build new on-campus residences.
“With building these residences, the Department of Higher Education and Training dedicates itself to safety of the students and that they lived in residences that were of good quality,” said Pandor.
Pandor appealed to all the students that will be using the new residences to ensure they kept them safe and clean for generations to come.
Meanwhile, among guests present was one of the founding fathers of the institution, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi whose attendance coincided with activities planned for his 90th birthday tomorrow.