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Khensani Maseko will be buried on Women’s Day in Johannesburg


Rhodes University student Khensani Maseko will be buried on Women’s Day in Johannesburg.

Khensani Maseko, 23, a final year BA student, was found dead at her family home in Alberton, Johannesburg five days ago.

Maseko had suffered depression after she was raped, allegedly by a boyfriend who is also a Rhodes student. The rape incident took place in May.

She was part of the university student representative council in 2016. Her death has drawn anger and shock from social media users who decried the scourge of rape in South Africa.

Maseko had reported the incident to the university in July.

University spokesperson Veliswa Mhlope said the institution had contacted Maseko’s family after she had reported the rape. The family had travelled to Grahamstown for a meeting with university management. The family then decided to take their daughter home for a while and Rhodes had agreed to follow up on the matter. She was due to return to the institution to receive on feedback regarding the matter.

Her family members said they were devastated that she took her own life.

”As a family, we do not take lightly the circumstances that led to Khensani taking her own life. We would like to express that we condemn, in the strongest possible terms, any form of violence and abuse against women, and particularly, rape against women. We urge that the law is allowed to take its course,” the family said in a statement.

On Monday, Rhodes announced it has issued a notice to suspend the alleged rapist.

The university shut down academic activities on Monday and Tuesday to commemorate Maseko and highlight gender-based violence and rape. At the neighbouring Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, students also shut down the university protesting against the rape of female students on the campus.

August 9 marks Women’s Day in South Africa to commemorate the 1956 historic march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria by thousands of women from across the country against pass laws introduced by the apartheid regime.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday deliver a keynote address at the National Women’s Day commemorations to be held in Mbekweni in Paarl, Western Cape.

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