Khensani's death a reflection of how bad things are for SA women: Manamela
Deputy higher education minister Buti Manamela said on Monday that the tragic events that led to the death of Rhodes student Khensani Maseko was a reflection of how bad things were for South African woman.
Maseko was a Rhodes University student who reported committed suicide at the weekend‚ allegedly after a rape ordeal.
"This terrible tragedy outlines that this is now a crisis‚ a two-fold crisis: on the one hand‚ the persistence of unrelenting incidents of GBV [gender-based violence] on our campuses and on the other‚ a dire need for psycho-social support for survivors of GBV.
“Mental illness should be tackled in the same breath as GBV‚ as one causes the other‚" Buti said.
He was quoted in a statement issued by the Higher Education and Training Health Wellness and Development Centre (HEAIDS).
Manamela observed a minute of silence for the student at the Tshwane North College‚ where an imbizo aimed at addressing sexual and gender-based violence on university campuses was held.
He said the imbizo was meant to get to the root cause of gender-based violence.
"We are determined to learn from these discussions in order for us to bring about a sector-wide strategy which we can align with national legislation‚ both within and outside of the higher education and training system‚” Manamela said.
He said a comprehensive gender-based violence policy framework would be issued for public comment‚ after a year of research and consultations with the education institutions‚ experts working in the field and other relevant parties.
Manamela said South Africa had a way to go before being fully transformed.
"We celebrate the National Women’s Day but‚ as too many chilling headlines and personal testimonies remind us‚ we have a long way to go to ensure a truly transformed South Africa where women and men stand equal‚ and where boys grow up basing their behaviour towards girls‚ sisters‚ mothers and other women on positive role models. The policy framework was developed on this premise‚" he said.
Meanwhile‚ Mulalo Mutheiwana‚ a Masters student from the Vaal University of Technology who was also a rape victim‚ shared her story.
“I am not victim; I am a survivor of my own story. Attempting suicide is not weak‚ Khensani was not weak‚ she was drained by the world not doing anything about abuse‚" Mutheiwana said.