Students break silence on violence at candlelight vigil

25 February 2013

Stand up, speak up and change the structural inequality that allows injustices like the brutal rape and murder of Anene Booysen to occur. This was the gist of the many messages delivered at a candlelight vigil on 12 February at UCT that hundreds of students attended in protest against Booysen's murder and rape and the recent murder of UCT student Bayanda Baba.

The lawns outside the Graca Machel residence were lit up by the tiny flames, which were symbolically extinguished once proceedings were concluded.

Speakers - including students, student leaders, staff members and community workers - condemned the unequal power relations that inform much of the violence against women and children in our society. While attending such vigils was lauded, students were challenged to actively work to undermine the patriarchal system at the root of the scourge.

Lorne Hallendorff, president of the Students' Representative Council (SRC), quoting the late Martin Luther King Jr, told the gathering: "Our lives begin to end the moment we stay silent about things that matter."

Hallendorff commended those that, by attending the vigil, were registering their protest against violence, and urged them to continue the fight once the flames were extinguished.

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