The mood was sombre as relatives, friends and community leaders laid flowers in front of the gate to the NY3a house in Gugulethu, where Brenda Mqela was brutally murdered.
The 48-year-old mother of two was stabbed to death more than six times in her upper body on the evening of Tuesday May 4. Her boyfriend was arrested in connection with her murder.
Last Thursday, Ilitha Labantu and other community stakeholders marched from Gugulethu police station denouncing the murder and calling for the community not to protect perpetrators of gender-based violence.
They marched to the home of the 66-year-old accused where they laid flowers before making their way to Brenda’s home where a short prayer was held to comfort her grieving mother Nomaxaba Mqikela.
Nomaxaba Mqikela is a counsellor at Ilitha Labantu where she has worked for many years.
The organisation’s founder, Mandisa Monakali, called for the perpetrator to be denied bail and for the court to hand down a life sentence. His sentencing, she said, should be an example to other killers and abusers of women.
She told the marchers it was critical that they stood together against gender-based violence.
She said young boys grew up without role models because their uncles, brothers and fathers were the perpetrators of gender-based violence.
“We are here to collect your spirit Brenda,“ she said.
“I appeal to women not to tolerate abuse from their partners. I know that not all men are abusers but it does not change the fact that our biggest fear, as women, is a man.
“In taverns and other areas where men spend time together they must talk about such issues and warn each other.
“We are calling you men,, young and old to help us in stopping gender-based violence,” she said.
Brenda’s brother, Wam Mqela said the family was not aware of any history of abuse in his sister’s relationship and that the family was battling to come to grips with her tragic death.
“We hope that justice and law won’t fail us. She died in a brutal way and I don’t think there is any family that wants to experience the pain that we are going through,” he said.
Gugulethu police station commander Brigadier, Nokuzola Pete, said they hoped that the justice system would do its part in ensuring that the accused faced consequences of his actions. She added that he had appeared in court last week and was due to appear again tomorrow, Friday May 21.
Ward councillor, Luvuyo Zondani, said they shared the family’s pain because Brenda was one of them.
He said as men they needed to take a firm stand against the abuse of children and women and should actively discourage their peers from being abusive.
He added that men needed to be good role models to young men and boys in the community and applauded Ilitha Labantu for their unwavering advocacy against gender-based violence.