South Africa: No Wreaths or Notes, Just Goats, At Site Where Gugulethu Woman Was Found Murdered

9 September 2019

There were no wreaths or hand-written notes at the cul-de-sac in Gugulethu, Cape Town, where the body of a woman was found on Friday, following a week of demonstrations calling for an end to the murder of women.

Police had not released the woman's name by Monday morning as they were still in the process of identifying her, but last week they said that a vehicle had been seen dropping off a body next to Lwazi Primary School in NY112.

It is next to an informal dump site where chunks of concrete and old tiles are strewn around.

"I think somebody must have taken a big slab and hit her like this," said a man, holding both arms up in the air above his head, and then demonstrating bringing them down heavily.

He was one of the people who had seen the woman's body as he was about to cross the bridge with its mosaic detail.

He said she had been beaten so badly with the slab that it would be difficult to recognise her.

"She had blood on her face," said the man, holding his own face in his hands.

'Everybody was just quiet when they saw her body'

While he spoke, a goat snuffled through the sand that had been carried over to cover her blood.

Members of the ANC Women's League stood in a circle, praying, singing and holding up posters.

They had planned a march to the Gugulethu police station for 10:00 but, after eating snacks and waiting next to the cemetery near the murder scene for their printed slogans to arrive, roughly 30 women set off about an hour later.

They walked the tarred path that runs next to Lwazi Primary School and joins the cul-de-sac where the woman's body was found.

"Everybody was just quiet when they saw her body," said Saafiek Marten, who works at the school and saw her body shortly after he arrived for work on Friday.

"They didn't scream or shout. They were just shocked," he said.

Shacks line the top of the river bank and the road leading up to the cul-de-sac, with only two high-mast lights about 800m apart appearing to provide the only lighting in the immediate vicinity.

'It's geting worse and worse'

The ANC's Western Cape head of chaplaincy Reverend Dorothea Gopie said on the sidelines that they were visiting a family of a murder victim almost every day.

"It is getting worse and worse, because every day there is somebody."

Asked what more could be done, she said the chaplaincy was not very well funded, as the members had to pay for their own petrol and buy their own food when they went to visit families.

The league continued its procession through Gugulethu towards the police station, carrying printed out slogans against rape and violence.

Meanwhile, three small children played in the litter-strewn river, seemingly oblivious to the fears expressed over their safety in the past weeks, and unmonitored by anybody who came forward when inquries were made about who was looking after them.

Attempts by News24 to find out where their carers might be, were met with indifference, apparent confusion over what the issue was, and a warning by two of the ANC women that it would be too dangerous to enter the shack settlement go and look for their carers.

One said it would be too dangerous to go to the children's home, but that she would ask the police to check up on the children when she got to the police station.


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