Dear colleagues and students
As we recommence the academic programme today, I want to recognise that we are doing so with still-grieving hearts and a sense that many wish to continue the struggle against sexual and gender-based violence.
Many of us have been deeply affected by the events of the past week. Thank you to all the students and staff who attended Uyinene’s funeral service on Saturday in East London.
It was a moving experience in that it provoked incredible sadness for the tragic loss of Uyinene’s life, but it was also a profound celebration of the beauty and wonder of who she was as a human being.
It remains a challenging period for all in our community. As we recommence our academic work, we will be sure not to forget our commitment to “Remember Nene” and to rise up against the endemic sexual and gender-based violence in our society that affects so many women and girls. In my mind it is definitely not “business as usual”.
We are continuing our work, at different levels of the institution, to support survivors who are coming forward and to continue to improve systems and methods for preventing and dealing more effectively with sexual and gender-based violence. We have already done so much, but there is still more to be done and we will continue our efforts deep into the future. We will communicate later today about more steps that have been taken.
Thank you to all of the students who have come together and shown care and compassion towards each other during this incredibly difficult time. Thank you to all of the UCT staff who have worked so hard to support the many who have been deeply traumatised by the death of Uyinene because of their own personal histories, and those who have been affected by witnessing the trauma of others.
South Africa has joined us to share in the pain of losing Uyinene, amplifying calls for action to be taken in intensifying the fight against sexual and gender-based violence. Thank you to all who are rising up.
Once again, we urge you to please reach out to each other and support one another in this time of immense sadness and mourning as we head into the final round of our 2019 academic programme.
I want to remind you again that there is assistance available if you feel you need support in any way.
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng
Important numbers for emergencies, help and support for staff and students:
Campus Protection Services
CPS 24-hour toll-free number: 080 650 2222
Rape and sexual assault
For immediate medical assistance or advice following a rape and/or sexual assault, please call, SMS or send a missed call to the standby number: 072 393 7824. We advise all staff and students to save this number on their cellphones.
Survivor Support is provided through a 24/7 Sexual Assault Emergency Response number: 072 393 7824. Survivors can also contact Rashieda Khan on 021 650 3530 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The University of Cape Town mourns the tragic death of our student Uyinene Mrwetyana, fondly known as Nene. The fact that a young female student has died in this horrific manner is devastating, and it has shocked us to our core. It is incomprehensible that a young life, with so much potential, has been stolen from her family and our community. It is even more distressing that this horrible incident is one of many where women – young and old, and even girls – are ripped from our communities in such a violent manner.