7 August 2018

South Africa: Rhodes Students Plan to March for Khensani Maseko

Photo: Khensani Maseko/Instagram
Khensani Maseko.

Rhodes University students are expected to march to the Settlers Monument in Grahamstown on Tuesday following the tragic death of 23-year-old Khensani Maseko.

Maseko took her own life on Friday after battling with depression following an alleged rape said to have occurred in May.

According to university spokesperson Veliswa Mhlope, Maseko reported the rape on July 30.

"The monument is where the university traditionally holds its graduation ceremonies and where Khensani would have rounded off her journey through Rhodes University. The issue of sexual consent will be discussed in a series of talks tomorrow, which will be open to everyone on campus," Mhlope said.

Maseko's family confirmed that she had committed suicide.

"On Friday 3 August, 2018, Khensani passed away by taking her own life, devastating her family, friends and the larger community of colleagues and peers. As a family, we do not take lightly the circumstances leading up to Khensani's death.

"We would like to explicitly express that we condemn, in the strongest possible terms, any form of violence and abuse against women and more particularly rape against women. We urge that the law should be allowed to take its course," the family said in a statement.

Suspension

Maseko, a third year Bachelor of Arts student, will be buried on Thursday, according to the family.

"In the days leading up to her funeral and final home-going, we wish, as a family to be afforded an opportunity to mourn and grieve the passing of our loved one in private," it said.

The university earlier revealed it had issued a notice to suspend Maseko's alleged rapist.

"A notice to suspend the alleged perpetrator was issued this morning, on the day when Khensani was due to meet with the support and an investigation team. The tragic passing of Khensani will not mark an end to the investigation into the circumstances leading up to her passing."

Mhlope said the institution was working with the police and the National Prosecuting Authority, and was pushing for an inquest to be held into her death.

Rhodes University Vice Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela lowered the institution's flag on Monday morning in commemoration of the third-year student's death. The flag would fly at half-mast until her funeral.

Mhlope said the university had immediately made contact with her family after she reported the rape and they had travelled the next day from Johannesburg to Grahamstown for a meeting where they elected to take Khensani home for a while.

"It was also agreed at the meeting that Rhodes University will follow up on the matter.

"Khensani was due to return to the university for a meeting with the support and investigation team today [Monday]," Mhlope said.

Source: News24

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