The death of 19-year-old Uyinene Mrwetyana caused an uproar in South Africa. Her death was the last straw for women who had lived in fear amid the culture of gender-based violence and danger in the country. The University of Cape Town (UCT) student was murdered and raped on August 24, 2019 while visiting the Clareinch Post Office in the leafy suburb of Claremont where she had gone to collect a package.
After being reported as missing, it was later found that Post Office worker Luyanda Botha had brutally bludgeoned her to death with a two-kilogram weight in the back of the Post Office. After various protests and the rise of the #aminext movement, Uyinene is being honoured by her high school, Kingswood College.
“Kingswood College had the opportunity of having her as part of our family for her entire senior school years from 2014-2018, where she was also a boarder at Jacques House,” the school said in a statement.
Affectionately known as Nene, she is being posthumously honoured with the Neil Aggett Award, which is awarded to Kingswood College students who display a high degree of human courage and awareness of social justice.
“The impact of Nene’s death has been significant, giving hope to the hopeless and a voice to the silent majority, and the fact that a Kingswoodian could raise such awareness should not go unnoticed,” it said. “A born leader, a keen academic, a talented musician, an excellent competitor at sports, Nene was the balanced individual who loved life. But more than that, she cared deeply. She was often outspoken about her views on gender and patriarchy, not only at school but with her family too.”
Her previous board mother said that Nene was known for the joy she brought to everyone’s lives and touched the hearts of many.
“The College therefore wishes to give Uyinene Mrwetyana the Neil Aggett Award posthumously, in recognition of what she did during the course of her young life and the influence this has had on issues of gender-based violence in South Africa since her death in 2019,” the College said.
A spokesperson for the Mrwetyana family recently told News24 that her parents feel their daughter’s death afresh each time the death of another woman in South Africa is announced in the news. “I don’t know what it would take for our country to change, I really don’t know,” family spokesperson Thembelani Mrwetyana said.
Nene’s murderer has been sentenced to three life terms in prison, and will only be eligible for parole after serving 25 years of his sentence.
Picture: Uyinene Mrwetyana/Instagram