The community must not be silent about gender-based violence (GBV), especially men, and must deal decisively with men who violate and murder women.
This is the view shared by the Men’s Forum last Thursday during a march held to remember the late Sikelelwa Mona, with calls for the minister to take a stand against the scourge of women abuse.
The community of Taiwan in Site C, Khayelitsha, is still reeling in anger over the murder of Mona, 18, by unknown men.
Khayelitsha police confirmed that they have made arrests of two men and women who were allegedly in the shack with Mona before she died and later released due to insufficient evidence linking them to the crime.
It is alleged that Ms Mona was served alcohol that was spiked, which led to her passing out, before she was raped by multiple men at her neighbour’s residence.
Ms Mona’s naked and lifeless body was discovered at the weekend. Upon finding her body, the police discovered that her private parts had been cut off.
On Thursday, the forum with many other stakeholders visited her home to mourn and pray with her family as they were to depart for Sterkspruit, Eastern Cape, in the village of Bhebheza, to bury their daughter on Saturday.
At the scene where her lifeless body was found, the forum, led by its president, Chief Sindile Sigcawu, called on all men in Khayelitsha to unite to root out social ills such as GBV in the area.
He said it was time that Khayelitsha men stood up.
He added that the time of watching and paying condolences was over – now is the time for action as men.
“It is about time that men form groups to fight the scourge of gender-based violence. Khayelitsha men must organise themselves. I also hope that Sikelelwa spirit will not rest but will give us power to fight the scourge. I hope her spirit will haunt those who killed her. As the forum I want to assure you that we will follow this case even in Parliament,” he said.
Meanwhile, National Men’s Forum chairperson Reverend Xolamzi Sam said men decided to march and visit the home to show they were serious in the fight against crimes against women.
“We are not here to defend ourselves and say not in our name. We are here to say count ourselves in. Your pain is our pain. We are taking from the 1980s to say an injury to one is an injury to all. That is why men decided to be here today. With the death of Sikelelwa, you must know that it is not all men. With her death, we will never keep quiet.”
Reverend Sam said people should stop the blame game. He defended the police and the correctional services workers by saying they are people too. “The police and the correctional services staff are here today to support the family. We should stop blaming them for what has happened.”
A member of the traditional healers, Thembeka Skaap urged the community members to stop using traditional healers for their dirty work. She said community members have a tendency of approaching witch doctors when they have done wrong. “Stop seeking traditional healers to cast a spell on your dirty job. Traditional healers are not killers and do not promote killings. Even the traditional healers should not entertain such people and their nonsense,” she said.
Family spokesperson Mluki Magalakanqa said the family was still distraught but the visit of the stakeholders has helped.
“We appreciate the visit and the words of support. This shows that there are caring people. We appreciate this when you are in a dire situation, there is only one thing in mind, killing yourself. But you made us strong. Sikelelwa will be buried back home in Sterkspruit. As we will embark on this journey, we urge you to pray for us until the end,” he said.