Cape Town - The yellow ribbon that Meghan Markle tied at Clareinch Post Office last week for murdered UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana has gone missing.
“The disappearance of the ribbon is quite unfortunate and is actually a reflection of the type of society we have become,” said Uyinene’s mother Noma.
“I’m highly disappointed that someone took it,” said Aaliah Jacobs, one of the four 17-year-old Livingstone High School pupils who spotted the duchess of Sussex tying the ribbon.
“You shouldn’t treat someone’s respect like that. But at least Meghan got the word out all over the world about Uyinene and gender-based violence.”
A post office worker who did not want to be named said he did not know whether it had been stolen, but guessed it might have been a royal fan claiming a souvenir.
“Eish! I don’t have words to explain my disgust,” he said. “It’s just not right. It shows no respect for Uyinene. They stole it just to brag about it, I’m sure.”
Last Thursday Markle took a stand against gender-based violence and expressed her solidarity with victims when she tied the ribbon on the railing.
The ribbon carried a Xhosa message of solidarity written in black: “Simi kunye kule si si mo (We stand together in this situation) - Harry & Meghan September 26, 2019”.
The fleeting moment of respect took place privately away from the glare of the global media pack tracking her and Prince Harry’s South African tour. But after Weekend Argus broke the story, Markle posted a photo of her tribute on her Instagram account.
Shopkeepers in the area were taken aback to hear of the disappearance of the ribbon, with one speculating it might have been taken by one of the homeless people in the area.
“They steal ribbons all the time,” said one who declined to be named. “I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because they are useful to tie things.
“But this should not discourage people from tying ribbons. We need to keep reminding people about her terrible murder and the violence against women in this country. The government should also erect a theft-proof memorial at the post office, added the shopkeeper.
“Imam Haron Road is very busy and slow moving until about 6pm so you can’t help noticing how people have paid their respect with ribbons, flowers and posters. It keeps people aware of what happened. They should also have a memorial service there every year on the anniversary of Uyinene’s death.”
A source revealed that Uyinene had bought from his shop at 10am on the Saturday she was murdered.
“She asked me if she could draw cash off her card to pay for her parcel because the post office card machines were not working. Unfortunately, the card didn’t allow me to do that. She told me she was going back to the post office at 1pm and I never saw her again.”
It’s alleged that on August 24 a yet-to-be identified post office worker, 42, lured Uyinene into the post office after hours. He then allegedly raped and bludgeoned the first-year film and media student to death with a scale.
Following a week-long search Uyinene’s body was found dumped in Khayelitsha. On the Saturday of the murder the suspect was seen leaving the post office at around 7pm, said the source who declined to be named for safety reasons.
“I asked him why he was leaving so late and he said he was finishing work, which I found strange. He got into an old silver VW Polo that drove around to the back of the post office. Now I realise that it could have been to take Uyinene’s body away.”
The source was also puzzled when the suspect returned on the Sunday at about 9am and spoke to him.
“Now I think it was to try and find out if I knew about the murder and if I had informed on him.”