Uyinene Mrwetyana’s family want Post Office transformed into “a place of healing”

Hundreds marched to the Clareinch post office in Claremont to commemorate four years since her rape and murder

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Over a hundred people gathered outside the Clareinch post office in Claremont, Cape Town where, four years ago, on 26 August, UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana was raped and murdered. Photos: Qaqamba Falithenjwa

The family of a young UCT student who was raped and murdered at the Clareinch post office in Claremont, Cape Town want the building she died in to be transformed into “a place of healing”.

“We want this post office to be transformed into a place of healing so that no other family experiences what we experienced,” said Noma Mrwetyana, the mother of Uyinene Mrwetyana.

Uyinene’s murder in August 2019 led to nationwide protests. She was killed while collecting a parcel at the post office. Luyanda Botha, a Post Office employee, was handed three life sentences in November 2019.

Her family established the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation which aims to create and fund projects that promote responsible and compassionate young men as a strategy to combat gender-based violence and femicide.

Commemorating four years since her murder on 26 August, the Mrwetyana family was joined by hundreds of students, relatives and activists at the now vacant Clareinch Post Office.

Some government officials in attendance included the Western Cape MEC for Health Nomafrench Mbombo, Langa’s Ward 51 Councillor Lwazi Phakade, and Claremont’s Ward 58 Councillor Katherine Christie.

On Saturday Mrwetyana told attendees that their family still needed help to bring their vision to life by upgrading the office into a wellness centre, museum or library in honour of her daughter’s memory.

Uyinene Mrwetyana’s father Mabhele Mrwetyana, brother Esona and mother Noma outside the post office in Claremont on Saturday.

“It cannot continue as a post office. We want this place that caused us so much pain to be transformed into a place of healing whatever that would mean,” she said.

Ward 58 Councillor Katherine Christie agreed with Mrwetyana’s proposal. She said the building is owned by Telkom, who had been renting it out to the Post Office. “We can approach Telkom and ask them to terminate the lease with the post office so that we can turn it into something Nene’s mother wants,” said Christie.

UCT student Lihle Rulashe told the group that they commit to host similar marches each year to ensure that Uyinene’s memory is kept alive and to raise awareness about Gender Based Violence. “It is not only our responsibility as UCT students to take action but the government as well, hence as I was adamant about the death penalty being implemented in South Africa because this issue has gotten out of hand.” The Constitution prohibits the death penalty.

Members of the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation then closed the gathering with a pledge, where all of the men raised their hands, promising to personally protect women and end gender-based violence.

TOPICS:  Crime Human Rights

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