South Africa: UCT Students Hand Out Pepper Spray to Help the Vulnerable Feel Safer


While protests against gender-based violence seem to have abated, women's lives are still in danger. Activists have asked government to implement laws to make women safer. A group of young women have started handing out pepper spray to other women.

Days after it was revealed that missing 19-year-old UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana had been raped and murdered at a post office, there was a palpable sense of anxiety among women about their safety. Marches to Parliament and to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) highlighting the crisis of gender-based violence happened against the backdrop of more women and girls going missing and subsequently being found dead.

The reports on the murders of women highlight the high levels of violence against women in South Africa. The 2018/2019 crime statistics reveal that 2,271 women were killed -- an average of seven women every day.

A group of 13 "femme students came together with the aim of raising money in order to distribute pepper spray to women, gender non-conforming and femme students", said Nomazwi Nkoane, a third-year BA UCT student, the spokesperson of the #Iwillnotbenext campaign.

The pepper spray cans are for "women, femme and gender non-conforming people who need it, but can't afford...

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