By: Anele Gcwabe
Age: 20 years old
Province: Western Cape
Died: 24 August 2019
Killed in broad daylight, at a place no one would have suspected- the post office. Remember how Uyinene Mrwetyana’s death put a brief pause to the loud voices of the victim blamers. How could anyone say that it was her fault, when she had done everything right, but still managed to die at the hands of another man who felt entitled to a woman’s body.
On Saturday, 24 August 2019, a nineteen-year-old University of Cape Town student named Uyinene Mrwetyana went to the post office. The man behind the counter told her that the credit-card machine wasn’t working because the electricity was down, so he wouldn’t be able to process her payment. Power outages are a common occurrence in South Africa, a normal part of life that one wouldn’t necessarily think twice about. The man told Mrwetyana to come back after 2p.m and he’d be able to help her then. By this time, everyone who works at the post office had gone home.
On 2nd September 2020, during a pre-trial hearing, a crowded courtroom heard that the man working behind the counter at the post office had confessed to bringing Mrwetyana inside, locking the door behind her, raping her, and- when she would not stop screaming- beating her with a set of post-office scales. He then put her body in the trunk of his car, burned it, and dumped it in Khayelitsha township, close to where he lived. Prosecutors said that blood was found inside the post office and on his shoe when he was arrested, the previous Friday.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world. According to recent statistical data by the South African Police Service, a woman is murdered every three hours, in South Africa.
Luyanda Botha, the man who was found guilty and given three life sentences for the rape and murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana, had confessed that he had intended to rape and kill Mrwetyana. After raping and murdering her, Botha went to a nearby bar where he had drinks and returned to the post office the next day to dispose of the body. This make me think of a similar case that happened in the township of Alexander, Gauteng in 2010. A young woman was strangled to death by her boyfriend who left her dead body on his bed to have drinks with his friends. May we remember these young woman who lost their lives too soon.