Candles were lit last week at the spot where the rape and murder of a 19-year-old UCT student sparked a nationwide fight against rampant sexual violence in South Africa.
Islamic Relief, Claremont SAPS and the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative held the candle-lighting ceremony, on Tuesday November 26, at the Clareninch post office where Uyinene Mrwetyana was raped and murdered by a postal employee at the end of August (“Student’s murder causes uproar,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, September 5).
The Western Cape High Court handed Luyanda Botha, 42, three life sentences for rape and murder and five years for defeating the ends of justice (“Three life sentences for Uyinene’s murderer,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, November 21).
The lit candles were placed in the shape of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign ribbon.
The ceremony commemorated all women and children who have died because of sexual violence while also acknowledging the survivors.
Islamic Relief’s Nadia van der Schyff said: “It is so important for us to get into the community and spread awareness and do something about it.”
Reverend Berry Behr, chairwoman of the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative, said Uyinene had come to represent all women and children who had been violated in one form or another.
“Uyinene’s voice is not going to be silent. We all carry her voice, and this sad incident has united us to allow us to make a difference in the world,” she said.
Lieutenant Colonel Lydia Hendricks, from Claremont SAPS, said: “During the 16 Days of Activism we would like to make the public know that they should speak up for themselves, and they are not alone during this period or any period.”