17 May 2017

South Africa: 'Where Are the Men?' - Mokoena Mourners

The lack of male voices around the topic of women and child abuse, as well as femicide took the spotlight at Karabo Mokoena's memorial in Diepkloof, Soweto on Wednesday.

Dr Adele Tjale, spiritual mother and counsellor to the 22-year-old, lamented the number of women dying.

"I am livid! It's too many, because we are making it a norm. It cannot be a norm, this thing of other women dying... [the men are entirely silent], father God where are the fathers? Where are the fathers that can stand in a society of SA and say 'this is no more?'" she asked.

Actor, Patrick Shai - who is also a family friend - delivered an impromptu speech, saying that men needed to take more action. He said that there were numerous dialogues and forums on women and child abuse throughout South Africa, but men were not heeding the call or coming forward.

"When are we as [men] going to take our position in society, our position in families, and come to the defence of our women and children? When is that? How many Karabos must there be before you stand up as a man and say it cannot happen in my name?" said Shai.

Tshepo Mokoena, the uncle who first sent a Facebook message confirming the death of his niece, also called out men for their silence on issues of women and child abuse, saying men need to stop cheering each other on for doing bad things to women. He said mothers and fathers need to work together.

"It's going to be very hard for me to forgive that man," he said.

Mokoena's charred remains were found a day after she was reported missing by her friend, and her family was only able to identify her through photos as the body was burnt beyond recognition. Her 27-year-old ex-lover, who is alleged to have killed her, made his first court appearance last week. There have been allegations that Mokoena suffered physical abuse at his hands.

The memorial was attended by members of the ANC Women's League (ANCWL), MEC for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, and other provincial government members.

Mokoena's parents, Thabang and Agnes sat in the front, staring absent-mindedly at the stage.

Friends described a confident go-getter who had aspirations of being famous. Many attested to her love for God, saying she had helped them find God in their lives.

Lebogang Mokoena, her younger brother, said that his sister was very beautiful, and that she prayed a lot.

He was comforted by his friends who all donned white tops with the message '#Justice4WomenAbuse' after breaking down on stage, saying that this is a tough time for his family.

Tjale recalled a time when Mokoena came home "completely battered".

"And this time, looked at me and she said, 'Mum, I don't care who did what, but this is the temple of the living God,'" she said, commending Mokoena's strength.

Her older sister, Bontle, was covered in a tan blanket, only lifting her head up to laugh dryly at random jokes during the tributes.

Source: News24

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