Grief and rage at litany of gender violence spills over to streets, fake news and global headlines
When will the madness end?
Two more dead and battered women were discovered in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday morning, as public outrage over gender-based violence erupted nationally.
President Cyril Ramaphosa came under pressure from big business and citizens to move faster in acting against violence, while SA’s street marches, vigilante action and rioting became international news.
On Wednesday morning a Mazizini High School Grade 12 pupil, Mvumelwano Qumbu, 18, was found hacked apart in Gxara Village outside Dutywa.
Education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said the slain teen, who lived alone in Gxara village, had been raped.
The body of Zodwa Tyoloda, 31, was found in a pit latrine near Qumbu on Tuesday evening after a two-day search by community members.
Mthatha police spokesperson captain Dineo Koena said Tyoloda was reported missing by family on Sunday and was found by a community search party.
We live in fear, not knowing who’s next
“Signs of foul play are evident as bruises were visible around her neck, ” said Koena.
A man, 30, accused of the gruesome murder of EL mother Angelique Clark-Abrahams, was arrested on Thursday.
NPA regional communications officer Luxolo Tyali said he appeared in court on Monday, was charged and returned to custody to await a formal bail application.
He is charged with rape, murder and violation of a restraining order.
The University of Fort Hare confirmed that second-year bachelor of education student Thandolwethu Ngolo has gone missing. University spokesperson Khotsho Moabi said: “The circumstances around her disappearance are not clear yet, but we are in constant touch with her family.”
Police spokesperson captain Hazel Mqala confirmed that a case of a missing person was registered at the East London police station in Fleet Street.
Numerous marches have been organised around the province for all the battered and slain women, among them: UCT student and EL ex-pupil Uyinene Mrwetyana from Centane, boxing and karate champion Leighandre Jegels, and Red Alert control clerk Angelique Clark-Abrahams.
An official memorial service for Mrwetyana will be held at the East London City Hall, followed by a procession to the Orient Theatre on Thursday.
Retribution and vigilante action has reared up. Names of men accused of raping women were posted on the Facebook group “Not Another Child” on Monday morning and the page had already reached 51,000 members by Wednesday morning before it was shut down. Names posted included celebrities, lawyers, pastors and government employees.
The group demanded the return of the death penalty.
Urgent appeals were posted for people to refrain from falsely accusing people who had not been convicted as this could endanger them and deny them their human rights.
A user wrote: “Guys, I do not mean to be insensitive but please do not lie about others. Two girls I know just lied about being sexually abused, when I called them I found that they were sitting together laughing on the phone. I was calling out of concern only to find out that they have a beef with the guy’s girlfriend. Please stop this. People are being killed and abused. This is no time for lies.”
Sesethu Gqadu, organiser of the East London Women Against Abuse march in Oxford Street on Wednesday afternoon, said: “We are living in fear, not knowing who is next.
“We want to know what the government will do to protect women and children.”
Students across the province held candlelight prayer meetings and marches under the #AmInext, #YouAreNotNext and #NotUnderMyWatch tags.
Women’s groups in Cape Town, UCT students and Cape Town high schools gathered outside parliament to picket.
UFH suspended all academic activities at its East London campus on Wednesday to allow students to participate in the march.
Dressed in black, students marched to the magistrate’s court, the police station in Fleet Street, the city hall and back to campus. They also marched to Walter Sisulu University (WSU) campus to mobilise support, but only a handful of WSU students joined in.
WSU student Uviwe Stali said WSU and Buffalo City FET college students held a night vigil on Tuesday. When a male Fort Hare former student leader tried to address the crowd people “lost their cool”, she said.
“They didn’t want to be addressed by a man.”