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Keabetswe Mokoena was shattered when her daughter Karabo Mokoena, who was 22 at the time, was taken away from her by a ruthless Sandile Mantsoe who smiled and laughed with his supporters during his court hearings.
Sandile stabbed Karabo to death and stuffed her body in rubbish bins before burning her beyond recognition. Then he continued with his life as normal. Judge Peet Johnson described Sandile as ‘the devil in disguise’ when he sentenced him to 32 years in prison. And it would seem there are many others living amongst us.

This was proven when the alleged killer of 19-year-old UCT student, Uyinene Mrwetyana, reportedly boasted about how the young women fought for her life as he tried, and succeeded, to stifle it out of her. Ruthlessly, after raping her.

And there are many more women fighting for their lives (and losing) every single day in this country. These men feel entitled. To rape. To kill. Why? Because we are women.

Losing your young daughter’s life is a pain that Keabetswe knows all too well, her heart is still broken. “To be honest my heart is truly shattered. The pain we experienced when we lost Karabo was almost unbearable at that point in time. I wouldn’t wish that kind of suffering in anyone,” she says. Speaking to W24, the mother says what keeps her going is keeping Karabo’s legacy alive.

She encourages Uyinene’s family to allow themselves to grieve. “We know your pain all too well. You have suffered a tremendous loss, and no one should ever dictate to you how long your grieving process will be . Be patient with yourselves, stay around the people that love you and want to support you during this trying time, this is essential for your healing,” she says.

Bontle Mokoena, who was just 27 when her sister was killed two years ago, has not healed and concedes that she may never heal. She has learnt to live with the pain.

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“I want to send my prayers, love and condolences to Uyinene’s family, especially her mother. I know her pain, I remember my mother’s cries, before we even knew that my little sister was gone, I heard my mom crying, yelling out Karabo’s name. It’s as if she already knew that her child had just been killed. I know and understand this pain.”

She visits Karabo’s grave often to talk to her late sister and brings her flowers. “At first I didn’t want anyone near me. I went through counselling and went through the deepest depression ever. I couldn’t be in a relationship or have friends, I had to take medication just to cope,” she says.

Bontle feels that when speaking about gender-based violence, women are always named and the men who are perpetrators are left out of the equation. “People are reluctant to name the rapists,” she says.

People, especially men, avoid conversations about rape and gender-based violence. “It’s an issue that men should be talking about, clearly women cannot do anything, we can march, shout and scream all we want but it is men who need to have conversations with themselves first,” she says.

“We need to restructure our justice system in a way that effectively rehabilitees these perpetrators. It’s not enough for them to go to jail and just come out a few years later without truly accepting what they did was wrong and taking active steps to change them and these detrimental mindsets,” Keabetswe says.

There is an urgent need to address violence against women. “Something must be done to tackle the sense of entitlement our men have over women’s lives and bodies.”

If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact one of the organisations below:

Gender-based violence Command Centre: “Please call me” facility: 1207867#
Emergency line: 0800 428 428
POWA helpline: 0116424345
Tears Foundation helpline: 1347355# Or visit them by find the nearest offices here: tears.storefind.mobi
Do you have any thoughts on having gender-based violence declared as a state of emergency? Chat to us here and tell us why.

Source : W24

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