Slain girls remembered as 16 days of action end

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

The Gauteng branch of the Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa (PWMSA) marked the last day of the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children yesterday by holding a prayer service for six girls who were raped and killed in Soweto over the past three years.

The service was held at the Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Orlando East in memory of Nelisiwe and Lindiwe Mbhele, Zandile Manganyi, Maduo Mafubedu, Nomsa Ngobeni and Coceka Lubobo.

The teenage girls, except the Mbhele sisters, were victims of self-confessed serial rapist and murderer Dumisani Mthombeni.

Mthombeni raped and slit their throats before dumping them in open velds near the Power Park Dam and Klipspruit.

Gwen Ramokgopa, Tshwane executive mayor and PWMSA convener, said it was important to remember and honour the "faces behind the statistics" of violence against women and children.

"Behind the rape and murder statistics are people. These girls were sacrificed in a sick society," she said.

Ramokgopa said abuse was a "sign of a bigger problem" in society and it was crucial to understand the problems of the perpetrators to get to the "root causes" of violent and abusive behaviour.

Lindi Ngobeni, the sister of 19-year-old Nomsa who was raped and her throat slit by Mthombeni, said she was disappointed that some men thought women deserved to be raped.

"Wearing a short skirt is not an invitation to be raped. Young women should feel safe in their communities and enjoy their freedom to move around without fear," she said.

Mthombeni committed suicide at Orlando police cells in October.