United in tragedy

2018-01-24 06:00
Members of the Kimberley community joined hands and peacefully marched through the streets against women abuse on Friday (19/01).Photos: Boipelo Mere

Members of the Kimberley community joined hands and peacefully marched through the streets against women abuse on Friday (19/01).Photos: Boipelo Mere

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The community of Kimberley took a step against the scourge of women abuse on Friday (19/01), a day before the burial of Refilwe Letebele (28), who was allegedly stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend.

The community heeded the call of the deceased’s father, Norman, who made a plea that his daughter’s death should not be in vain, but should be a lesson to many.

The 32-year-old suspect is set to make a brief court appearance in the Kimberley Magistrates’ Court today on a charge of murder following his release from hospital.

He was admitted on the day of the murder after reportedly attempting to slit his own throat.

Letebele was buried on Saturday (20/01). Her father requested that all the men stand up while he read a moving poem.

Dressed in red T-shirts, over 200 members of the community, in partnership with Operation Wanya Tsotsi, engaged in the peaceful #AntiFemicideMarch towards Letebele’s home, where they convened a prayer service.

Nthabiseng Leborwane, one of her colleagues at the Department of Rural Development, described her as a supportive and unselfish person who expected nothing in return.

“I shared an office with her when I arrived at the department and she taught me a lot. And I was not the only one, because she continued to frequent our office even after she left to work at Seda,” said Leborwane.

“It is because of her encouragement on the importance of education that I managed to complete my diploma.

“She was younger than me, but more like a mentor.”

During the march, the heartbroken mourners emphasised the call for women to stop the tendency of suffering in silence in fear of being judged or blamed.

“Women, let us not suffer in silence, because this is what happens.

“As soon as he lays a hand on you, report it immediately. Because if you suffer in silence, we will never be able to assist you,” Monase Leborwane urged.

She was referring to rumours of how the deceased was a victim of abuse and suffered in silence without ever reporting it to anyone.

Tebogo Obusitse lashed out against passive men who watch in silence while women are abused, waiting until a life is lost before they speak up.

Obusitse commented that repeatedly saying “not in my name” will not help end the scourge of women abuse.

“We sit here and say that, but it will not help, as women continue to be brutally killed by us and our brothers,” said Obusitse.

“Think deep that tomorrow it might be your mother, sister or daughter. Let us not wait for another Fifi.

“My brothers, you and me, we see these things happening every day, but we keep quiet until we hear messages like these, then we say ‘I should have done something’, only to later return to our default modes, as is our nature.

“Or maybe it is just because it is not my sister or my child,” Obusitse said.

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