Thousands of people protested outside the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Wednesday where the World Economic Forum on Africa summit is taking place. PHOTO: Ayanda Ndamane / African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Thousands of university students and high school pupils gathered at the Cape Town Convention Centre to #ShutDownWEF on Africa and others at parliament in protest of the recent spate of femicide.

A heavy police presence around the CTICC precinct did not deter the highly energetic and fearless group of angry young people.  Some came bearing posters written “i dont want to die with my legs open”, “fearless and woke” and “No more, enough is enough”. 

Moving between Parliament and the convention centre, the crowd sang songs like “Luyanda raped a student, he needs to die” and “senzeni na” meaning “what have we done?” 

ANC national spokesman, Pule Mabe in a statement condemned the “senseless killing of young women in the hands of men.  “The ANC calls for a programme that will conscientise men to protect and treat women with respect and dignity,” he said.

While EFF Western Cape Deputy Provincial Chairperson Nosipho Nosipho Makamba-Botya called this “a dark period in the country.” “Women have embarked on marches and petitions but the government does nothing, they have failed to protect us. “It is said that a 19-year-old was raped and killed at a post office in broad daylight,” she said.

A 20-year-old UCT student could barely speak to media after she broke down in tears at the steps of the CTICC. “We are not here to fight with the police but we are here to plead with the president.  He needs to declare a state of emergency. This can not go on anymore,” she said.

The anger and outrage has been fuelled by the rape and murder of 19-year-old UCT student, Uyinene Mrwetyana, the murder of boxing champion Leighandre Jenkins who was shot by her boyfriend, the brutal rape and murder of 14-year-old Janika Mallo, Jesse Hess who was found beaten to death, and many more others who suffered at the hands of men.

UCT had temporarily suspended classes to observe a mourning period for Mrwetyana, a first-year film and media studies student who had been missing for about a week before her alleged killed confessed to bludgeoning her with a post office scale at the Clareinch Post Office where she was last seen. 

By Tuesday night angry residents of the I section in Khayelitsha burnt Uyinene’s alleged killer’s house to the ground.  The man who was described by his neighbours as a “loner” had been living alone since his wife and little girl left him about a year ago.

Meanwhile, Mrwetyana’s older sister made a heartfelt plea in a Facebook post where she expressed her hurt and pain.

"What haunts me the most isn't the fact that you're gone and taken away from us so soon, it's the thought of the fear and pain you experienced all alone. I'm so sorry Bhelekazi.

"I'm so sorry you had to be alive at a time where being a woman is all it takes to set a man off.

"Now we hold on to the memories we shared together and the thought of what could've become of you had that man not violated you. Hurt. - That's what I am. That's what we all are. Such a beautiful soul with an entire future and opportunities awaiting her," she wrote.

On Monday, Grade R Laerskool Kollegepark pupil Amy-leigh De Jager was kidnapped outside her school but her kidnappers returned her unharmed in the early hours of Wednesday morning after demanding an R2 million ransom. The little girl was found by a couple wailing just 5km from where she had been abducted and taken to the police station where she reunited with her family.

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Weekend Argus