Ricochet News

Rhodes student, who committed suicide after being raped by boyfriend to be buried on Thursday

By Afikile Lugunya - Aug 7, 2018
Rhodes student, who committed suicide after being raped by boyfriend to be buried on Thursday

A third-year BA student at Rhodes University, Khentsani Maseko, who apparently committed suicide after being raped by her boyfriend on Friday last week, will be buried on Thursday, according to her family.

Maseko apparently left a message on social media claiming that she had been suffering in silence after being raped by her boyfriend in May this year.

Her burial on Women’s Day – which is observed on the 9th of August, every year in South Africa, is a way to keep her legacy alive the family said.

Maseko killed herself just two days after the #TotalShutdown marches that were organised by women across South Africa to bring attention to gender-based violence.

Her last Instagram post was “No one deserves to be raped”.

Her passing shook not only social media users, but students at Rhodes University as well, who shut down the university in protest on Monday.

Rhodes University Vice Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, said that the University had been robbed of an amazing young woman, who was destined for greater things.

“As the Rhodes University community, we are deeply saddened by Khensani’s passing and would like to extend our sincerest condolences to her family, loved ones, and everyone that knew her.

“Her death underlines the pervasive scourge of gender-based violence in our society. We have been robbed of an amazing young woman who was destined to make a significant impact on our society and beyond,” Dr Mabizela described.

“We hope that this tragic incident will allow the University an opportunity to reflect and to engage, even deeper, on how we must pull together as a University and society to eliminate the scourge of gender-based violence once and for all.

“This is the most fitting and lasting tribute we can give Khensani.”

Rhodes University is not new to the scourge of sexual assault as several cases have been reported. In 2016, there was an outbreak of violence on campus associated with the so-called #RUReferenceList, which apparently had the names of alleged rapists on campus.

Female students then claimed that the university was not doing enough to address sexual violence.

Coincidentally, as students called for management to actively address gender-based violence at Rhodes University, students at the Nelson Mandela University also held a protest after a student was apparently raped by her boyfriend on campus over the weekend.

The victim formally withdrew criminal charge laid with the SAPS on Monday, but the university said that the boyfriend would remain on suspension pending internal processes.

Image- File image: Courtesy of Amy Pieterse @AmyPieterse21 via Twitter.