For womxn, South Africa’s national anthem sounds like a lie, particularly the part where we sing, “In South Africa our land.” This is not about land ownership, although that is an equally pressing social matter that needs unpacking. This is about the fact that womxn cannot go anywhere without the threat of death hanging over their heads like a poorly installed chandelier.
This week, survivors of sexual assault took to social media to name and shame their abusers. It is said that at least 9,000 names have been shared. 9,000.
Some were assaulted in the homes of people whom they trust, others were violated in public settings, and one in particular was raped and murdered in a government facility, namely the Post Office. Regarding the latter location, Luyanda Botha raped and murdered Uyinene Mrwetyana in a South African post office. He proceeded to mutilate her body and bury it to avoid the consequences of his actions, only to eventually confess to his crime. When describing the situation, he commented that Uyinene “gave him a hard time” because she fought back and didn’t die quickly enough. He smirked in court. It has since come out that the tactic he used to get Uyinene alone is one that he’s tried before, albeit unsuccessfully.
The survivors’ accounts of how they were violated are jarring. They have sparked criminal cases, in some instances, and protests across the country. For this, one can only be hopeful that there is justice for survivors. However, this is South Africa, this is not our land, particularly where womxn are concerned.
Men are a danger to society. Men are a danger to themselves. I am more likely to be sent to my grave by a man before I face the natural causes cited in autopsy reports. That is South Africa, not quite, our land.