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GBV murders are too close to home, says Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Uyinene Mrwetyana was murdered two years ago today.
Uyinene Mrwetyana was murdered two years ago today.

UCT vice-chancellor Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng on Tuesday urged everyone to do their part to counter sexual and gender-based violence, as the university marked the second anniversary of the murder of student Uyinene Mrwetyana.

Referring to the recent killing of University of Fort Hare student Nosicelo Mtebeni, she said: “The deeply shocking murder of Nosicelo strikes too close to home. Just two years ago this week, we were reeling from the rape and murder of Uyinene. Today I am devastated that I feel the same heartache I felt in 2019.

“SA is being robbed of our bright stars of the future. Nosicelo had her heart set on making a difference. Her classmate told the media that Nosicelo wanted to be appointed as a Constitutional Court judge someday. To aim for such a goal, she must have had loving and confident support from her family and friends. She must have felt empowered to serve her country.”

Asking people to take action, Phakeng added: “We may not know these women and girls. But they are our responsibility. I am asking you to make a commitment to do what you can to protect the future they hold. Because there are effective actions each of us can take.”

Among other actions, she said men could hold each other accountable for the attitudes, unconscious behaviour and direct actions that contribute to the scourge.

Mrwetyana was raped and killed at Cape Town's Clareinch post office before her body was dumped in Khayelitsha in August 2019. Her murder sparked a nationwide outcry and mass protests against GBV.

Luyanda Botha, the man found guilty for her rape and murder, was handed three life sentences for the gruesome crime. He was also given five years for defeating the ends of justice. He will serve 25 years before he can be considered for release on parole