Share now!

The Mrwetyana family whose child was brutally murdered at the Clareinch Post Office in 2019 want the building to be transformed into a place healing. The family was part of a march in memory of Uyinene to mark four years since her brutal murder and to remember all victims of gender-based violence.

The march which started from Roscommon, Uyinene’s former residence, was organised by the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation and the University of Cape Town (UCT) and was joined by civil society organisations.

Outside the post office, an emotional Nomangwane Mrwetyana, Uyinene’s mother, stood beside her son Esona and husband, Mabhele Mrwetyana and expressed that “the wound is still very open”.

“Assist us in transforming this place, it cannot continue as a post office at all. We want this place that caused pain to us to be transformed into a place of healing, whatever that will mean. Whether it is a museum, wellness center or library, but something that will add value to the lives of young people,” said Mrwetyana. The family reiterated that they stand with all families that have been hurt by GBV.

Ward 58 councillor, Katherine Christie, whose daughter was friends with Uyinene, said she supports the Mrwetyana family’s plea to transform the post office. “The building is owned by Telkom and is rented out to the post office. I will approach Telkom and ask them to cooperate with us, and I will do my best to persuade them to change the name and possibly to cancel the lease with the post office. [And] turn this place into something else,” said Christie, “as soon as possible.”

Several speakers voiced their sentiments when it came to fighting GBV. “It is a reality that demands a response that is proportional to the magnitude of the problem […] It’s not enough to merely acknowledge the issue, we must take action,” said Lihle Rulashe, a student at UCT.

UCT student representative council (SRC) president, Hlengiwe Dube, urged everyone to not become desensitised to the realities of women and children. “The theme of today is not a one-day event, it is a call for continuous action. In Uyinene’s memory, let us carry the torch of change forward. Let us commit to transforming our society to one where every child, regardless of gender, can grow up with dignity, security, and the belief that they are valued,” said Dube.

UCT, which was thanked by the family for their regular support, started an Uyinene Mrwetyana scholarship for women and non-binary students in the humanities faculty. Luhlanganiso Majebe, the first recipient of the scholarship, was also at the march, is now in her third year doing a law degree. “It means a lot to have been recognised for a scholarship that is more than just academics. I have always been a person who has been passionate about social justice, so for me to get this scholarship, it affirmed me and this is a cause that is so dear to me especially as a black woman in South Africa,” said Majebe.

She did not know Uyinene personally, she added, but recognises her positionality in terms of identity as a black, South African woman. “I have so much respect for her mother, her family and the foundation, for every passing year not letting her name die and not letting her name go in vain. I think that’s what the walk meant for me; its bigger than myself, its about us actively trying to be a part of something and to have a voice and say that we are tired,” said Majebe.