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Femicide, an SA curse


Such toxic masculinity has no place in civilised society

Murdered Karabo Mokoena's charred body was found in a shallow grave in Johannesburg. FILE PHOTO: Supplied/ Mokoena's social media

IT WAS hardly 24 hours after the conviction of Karabo Mokoena’s killer that we learned of yet another young woman who died allegedly at the hands of her former partner.

Zolile Khumalo, a first-year quantity surveying student at Mangosuthu University of Technology, was allegedly shot dead by an MUT ex-student at a student residence in Durban on Tuesday night. Reports say 21-year-old Khumalo tried to break up with the ex-boyfriend, who couldn’t take it. When the incident happened, she had been avoiding him for two weeks.

While questions abound about how the man managed to go past security at the residence with a firearm, the real issue is what made him think he had the right to take another person’s life because he had been rejected?

Such toxic masculinity has no place in civilised society.

On Wednesday, a blow for women’s rights was struck when Acting Judge Peet Johnson found Sandile Mantsoe guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend Karabo Mokoena. Yesterday Mantsoe was sentenced to a cumulative 32 years in prison.

Mokoena’s gruesome death made headlines after her charred remains were found by a passer-by in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg, in April 2017. Mantsoe, the married father of three, had been in a relationship with Mokoena since October 2016.

He denied killing Mokoena but claimed during his bail application that he had disposed of her body after he found that she had committed suicide.

Mantsoe, who did not give evidence, discovered to his dismay that although the mills of justice turn slowly, they can grind exceedingly fine.

This country has a serious problem of femicide, where women die at the hand of their intimate partners.

A woman is murdered every four hours in South Africa, half of whom die at the hands of their intimate partners.

Moreover, a health survey carried out by Stats SA reveals that 21% of women over 18 in South Africa – or one in five women – have experienced violence by their partner. For 17% of young women, between 18 and 24 years old, partner violence is something they’ve experienced in the previous 12 months.

Women between the ages of 14 and 29 accounted for about 39% of femicides, and African women accounted for about 78% of these. Almost 61% of femicides took place at the women’s homes.

What will it take to stop the violence against women in South Africa? We need a solution so the souls of Mokoena and Khumalo, among the many who’ve paid the ultimate price, can rest in peace.