Protesters demand action against gender-based violence in South Africa

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EYEAFRICA TV: Cape Town, South Africa: Tens of thousands of South African people gathered Thursday in Cape Town to protest against gender-based violence in front of Parliament.

The massive protest was sparked by the death of Uyinene Mrwetyana, a female student of University of Cape Town, who was raped and bludgeoned to death in a local post office on August 24.

An employee of the post office has confessed to raping and murdering the girl affectionately known as “Nene” as she was inquiring about a parcel there.

There are around 57 murders each day in South Africa and one woman is killed every three hours, according to the South African Police Service.

Such alarming rates have made many in the country feel “having had enough.” Not only women, men also joined the Thursday protest. “I’m only here to be the change I want to see. You know, all men are not bad. There is a vast majority of men that’s really standing up and uniting against this in order to support the women here today,” said Earl Albert Mento, one of the protesters.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa stated on Thursday that the country will review laws on domestic violence and sexual offenses and overhaul register of gender-based violence offenders and promised harsher penalties for perpetrators.

This incident came just two weeks after the start of a Johannesburg riot, leading to the deaths of at least seven people. The riots were xenophobic in nature targeting foreign nationals from the rest of Africa, most notably Nigeria.

Last week at least 10 people were killed, and hundreds arrested in a spasm of xenophobic violence and looting in Johannesburg, Pretoria and elsewhere in the country.

Much of the violence and crime targeted foreign African migrants from countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Kenya.

Nigeria has recalled its ambassador to South Africa, while its citizens retaliated against South African owned businesses. Nigeria has also offered to repatriate its citizens, while Zambia and Madagascar canceled soccer matches with Bafana Bafana.

Students marched on the South African High Commission in Lusaka, and Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said rioters destroyed South African owned businesses and a popular South African clothing chain was looted in the Democratic Republic of Congo Thursday.

After several days of incidents, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa did make a series of statements on his Twitter feed.

“The attacks on people who run businesses from foreign nationals is totally unacceptable,” Ramaphosa said.

“There can be no justification whatsoever about what people are having a grievance over that they should go out and attack people from other countries because when they do so here, they should also know that fellow South Africans will be attacked in other countries,” the President added.

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