South African Teen’s Murder Sparks Outcry, #AmINext Hashtag Circulates Online

Her name is Uyinene Mrwetyana, and she was raped and killed by a postal worker in Cape Town, South Africa.

News reports show Mrwetyana, 19, went to a Cape Town post office to check on a package on the day of her disappearance. National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the electricity was out in the post office and Mrwetyana was told to return later, but when she did, she was attacked. The suspect then reportedly knocked the teen out unconscious with a scale and then sexually assaulted her. The University of Cape Town (UCT) film and media student was last seen Saturday, August 30.

According to The South African, the suspect indicated to investigators where Uyinene’s body was hidden and “during the court proceedings, he turned around to face the crowd and grinned slightly.” Investigators confirmed that the man admitted to raping and killing her. He also confessed to the crimes when he appeared in court on Tuesday, September 3.

Ntabazalila said the 42-year-old man, who was reportedly an employee of the post office, was previously convicted of armed robbery or robbery with aggravating circumstances. In addition, the man had a rape case opened against him, but it was later withdrawn. However, there are no answers on how the man was hired at the office with such a record.  The murderer’s trial is set for November. 

Uyinene’s death has since sparked outrage online and in her community, as women have continuously been subjected to violent attacks. 

#RIPUyinene is now all over social media, as people around the world mourn her lost life. “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,” said UCT Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng.

The recent killings have ignited the hashtag #AmINext, led by the Am I Next movement, which started on Wednesday. Mothers, children, and women alike have taken to the streets with signs that read, “Share Our Burden” and “Stop Killing Us,” and are calling on men, the president, and the South African community to do more to protect women.

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