Uyinene Mrwetyana was a 19-year-old film and media student at the University of Cape Town who was last seen Saturday, August 30 at a local post office. Uyinene visited the post office that day to merely inquire about a package she was expecting, but was told to return later because the electricity wasn’t working at the postal facility at the time. Upon her return to the post office, she was attacked with a scale, knocked unconscious, sexually assaulted, then killed. Uyinene Mrwetyana went to the post office…she died just for picking up a package.
According to The South African, after days of searching for Uyinene, investigators confirmed a man has confessed to raping and brutally killing her. He also reportedly confessed to the crimes during his court appearance on Tuesday, September 3, and told investigators where Uyinene’s body was hidden. The publication reported “during the court proceedings [the suspect] turned around to face the crowd and grinned slightly. The 42-year-old manwas an employee of the post office and had a prior armed robbery conviction, as well as a withdrawn rape case against him.
UCT Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said, “It is incomprehensible that a young life, with so much potential, has been stolen from her family and our community. It is even more distressing that this horrible incident is one of many where women – young and old, and even girls – are ripped from our communities in such a violent manner.”
The killing of Uyinene is just the latest in a series of violence against women in the region. The kidnapping (and safe return) of six-year-old Amy-Lee de Jager and the murder of South African female boxing champ Leighandre Jegels, are just a couple of the tragic stories of “femicide” — defined by the World Health Organization as “violence against women” taking place in South Africa.
In response to the deaths, the #AmINextProtest has surfaced, which is led by the ‘Am I Next’ movement. Activists, women, and children protest outside of Parliament and at the first session of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town with signs that read “Share Our Burden” and “Stop Killing Us”, calling on men, the president, and the South African population to do more to protect their women.