UKZN: Scores ‘die’ in solidarity

2013-04-20 00:00

THE sounds of silence echoed around the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal yesterday, but the message was loud and clear: no more rape.

Hundreds of students participated in the annual Silent Protest, which aims to draw public attention to the horrors of rape while demanding better services for rape survivors.

Wearing tape over their mouths, the protesters remained silent for most of the day to represent the silencing of rape survivors and the death of rape victims. This year is the first time that UKZN is participating in the event, which was launched seven years ago by the students at Rhodes University in Grahamstown.

A student who had been silent about being raped broke down when purple T-shirts were being handed out to remind the protesters about the impact and importance of the event.

Seeing the woman weeping opened old wounds for rape survivor Lesego Buyeye.

“We all got very emotional. I was seven when I was raped. I didn’t speak about it for six years. When I finally told my mother and grandmother, they said they knew and they hoped I had forgotten about it. I felt betrayed, but when I got older I realised they also did not know how to speak out about the situation.”

Government crime statistics reveal that 65 000 sexual assaults were reported in South Africa last year. Only 6,5% of cases are successfully prosecuted and fewer than 0,5% of perpetrators will serve any jail time.

“Three people died in the Boston Marathon bombing and the whole world is in uproar; thousands of women are raped and killed in South Africa every year and it goes unnoticed,” said event organiser Thenjiwe Mswane.

Two of her friends were raped and murdered, one on the day of her graduation.

Mswane was overwhelmed by the support the protest received. “It’s strengthening to know that we are making a difference; more people are coming out and speaking up. It’s time we stop the war on women’s bodies,” Mswane said.

Jess Foord, motivational speaker and gang rape survivor, was impressed with UKZN’s participation in the protest.

“Honestly, this is amazing. It’s great to see so many people come out and support this. Too often we hear about rape and dismiss it, but a rape happens every 17 seconds. It’s getting closer to home; the next rape could happen to your mother, sister or daughter … We need to stop it before it happens.”

Foord joined the students in a “die-in” in which they lay down on the ground in silence for 45 minutes to express solidarity with all rape victims.


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.