Photo: Supplied / Africa News Agency (ANA)

Uyinene Mrwetyana: A year since her vicious rape and murder

The 19-year-old woman was bludgeoned to death with a massive scale by Luyanda Botha, a Post Office employee who received three life sentences and will only be eligible for parole after 25 years


Photo: Supplied / Africa News Agency (ANA)

It was on 24 August 2019 that University of Cape Town (UCT) student Uyinene Mrwetyana was raped and murdered, sparking a nationwide movement of South African women who had had enough with the spate of femicide in the country.

Luyanda Botha

What struck a chord with many about her death, was the fact that it occurred in broad daylight and at the Post Office in Clareinch.

A 42-year-old man, Luyanda Botha, who was employed at the Post Office, received three life sentences in November 2019 and will only be eligible for parole in 25 years.

Botha is said to have admitted to having also raped Mrwetyana and also attempting to strangle her, before striking her with a massive scale. He returned the following day to retrieve her body, dumping the remains in a field before dousing them with petrol and setting them alight.

South Africans have taken to social media to express their grief and outrage, even a year after her passing and have reiterated their call to government, for a tougher stance against gender-based violence as well as femicide.

It was in the wake of her killing that women marched across the country, calling for an end to the violence and the bloodshed.

The Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation

UCT has paid tribute to its slain student and has promised to continue strengthening the response to this scourge using improved systems for SGBV management through advocacy, awareness and research.

It’s also established the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation, in her honour, to help tackle gender-based violence and enhance youth leadership.

“A year ago today, in the most horrific way, we lost our student Uyinene Mrwetyana to SGBV. This sparked a wave of outrage and pain not only at UCT but in South Africa and the rest of the world. Uyinene’s brutal rape and murder became one of a long list of women and vulnerable people who are violated daily”, said the institution’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng.

The anniversary of Mrwetyana’s death comes a week since the killing of Asithandile Zozo, a Wits University student who was stabbed to death, allegedly by a former boyfriend.

“We had not even recovered from the Uyinene tragedy when just a few days ago, the higher education sector and the country was again devastated by the brutal murder of Wits University first-year student, Asithandile Zozo. We convey our heartfelt condolences to the Zozo family and stand in solidarity with the Wits community as we continue the fight against GBV”, she said.