Honouring Uyinene and continuing the fight against SGBV

15 August 2023 | Professor Elelwani Ramugondo

Dear colleagues and students

The month of August is not only for the country to celebrate women. It is during this month that we are also reminded of – and we intensify our efforts in – confronting sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

As a university, we put every effort toward creating an environment on and around campus where students and colleagues can feel safe, against the background of SGBV as a broader societal scourge.

One of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) bleakest moments in this regard was when our first-year student, Uyinene Mrwetyana, went to the post office in Claremont to pick up a parcel and ended up being brutally raped and murdered by a male post office worker on 24 August 2019.

As we continue remembering Uyinene and many others who lost their lives due to SGBV, the university will gather in support of a unity walk organised by the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation on Saturday, 26 August. The theme of the walk is “United Against GBVF”.

This unity walk is a gathering to commemorate and celebrate the life of Uyinene, a beacon of hope and inspiration whose tragic passing shook our campus and forever changed lives of family and friends.

Beyond serving as a commemoration of Uyinene’s life, the walk will show support for everyone affected by SGBV as we stand as a unified community with students and staff from the Western Cape in the commitment to eradicate SGBV.

The walk will start at Roscommon Residence at 09:00 and proceed to Clareinch Post Office. UCT staff and students are encouraged to wear branded t-shirts representing their societies. After the march, transport will be provided from the post office back to the lower campus bus stop.

Uyinene’s life was one characterised by determination, intelligence and a passion for positive change. As a student at UCT, she demonstrated exceptional academic prowess, an unwavering commitment to her studies, and an infectious enthusiasm for life. Her vibrant spirit, warm heart and compassionate nature made her a beloved member of our campus family. To honour her legacy, UCT created the Uyinene Mrwetyana Scholarship in the Faculty of Humanities.

Let us remember Uyinene as not just a victim of violence but as a champion for humanity, equality and justice. Let her life inspire us to strive for a society where everyone feels safe, valued and heard.

May Uyinene continue to rest in power.

For further information about the unity walk or to get involved, please contact the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation or the UCT Office for Inclusivity & Change.


Professor Elelwani Ramugondo
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Transformation, Student Affairs and Social Responsiveness

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