“It is very sad that we lost her to the same violence she stood against”.
These were the words of Nomangwane Mrwetyana – mother of Uyinene Mrwetyana who was brutally raped and murdered at the Clareinch post office in Cape Town in August – at the official launch of her daughter’s foundation in Makhanda, in the Eastern Cape on Friday.
“I stand here with mixed feelings, dressed in emotion of many colours … in the midst of these colours, I choose the bright, glowing hues that represent Uyi’s glowing personality as we remember her,” Nomangwane said in tribute.
She remembered her daughter as “positive, confident, intellectual and courageous”.
With the foundation, Nomangwane said, it is the legacy of Uyinene the family wants to keep.
“This launch symbolises a crossover to the other side, where her memories will live,” she said.
Uyinene’s callous rape and murder at the hands of post office employee Luyanda Botha brought into sharp focus the issue of gender-based violence in the country.
Many argued that the taxing protests witnessed at the beginning of September in response to her murder were due to the fact that she had been running a day-to-day errand: picking up a package at a post office, before Botha cut her life short.
‘We are tired of being led by rapists’
Some of the focus of the foundation will be prevention of gender-based violence; providing holistic support services to victims, which includes safe havens and support havens for survivors while also emphasising the need to change environments that have been associated with violence in communities.
The third pillar will focus on youth leadership development: partnering with institutions of higher learning to provide accredited courses on gender sensitive leadership skills because, and as Nomangwane put it, “sidikwe kukukhokhelwa zizidlwengu (we are tired of being led by rapists)”.
She ended off by saying: “Uyinene’s physical being may not be with us, but her spirit remains steadfast with her love and spirit … forever etched in our hearts, eternally …”
The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, and executive director of United Nations Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka shared messages of support for the foundation via a video link-up.