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Upsurge in Sexual Assaults Slash the Soul of South Africa

Uncontrolled ugliness

The charity where du Preez works as a project manager is Solidariteit Helpende Hande. This is a charity for Afrikaners located outside Pretoria, South Africa’s capital. (Afrikaners are a white ethnic group descended from early Dutch settlers in South Africa. The Afrikaner political party that rose to power in 1948 instituted the system of apartheid -– racial segregation more rigid than practiced by British colonizers of the country.)

“During house break-ins women will be raped. They will tie up the whole family and then rape the mother in front of the family,” du Preez said during an interview. “The fear is not just of people taking your stuff but rape also.”

The upsurge in the frequency of sexual violence against women and the severity of the sexual assaults during the past year has many across South Africa searching for explanations.

The killing of women and children is “worrisome” for Thabo Yoma, a manager in South Africa’s prison system where he’s worked for 24-years. “We don’t know the motivation,” Yoma said during an interview. “There is a lot of gangsterism in South Africa,” Yoma added.

Dr. Vusi Shongwe wrote a recent newspaper commentary where he tied the horrendous rape and slaying of women to a decay of “morals” across South African society. Shongwe works in the Office of the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa’s East Cape.

South Africa’s Minister of Women in the Presidency, Susan Shabangu, challenged men to be more proactive in challenging other men to change their attitudes towards women during her remarks at that Regina Mundi rally.

“We must treat boys and girls the same. If we keep teaching that men are strong we will end up here again,” Shabangu said.

“Killing and burning is wrong. We bury too many women,” continued Shabangu, a member of South Africa’s Parliament and its ruling party, the ANC (the African National Congress). “Neighbors have to get involved and stop ignoring crimes.”

Outside the rally at Regina Mundi Blessing Ngwail said he wanted to see more men involved in the movement to reduce violence against females.

“We as men tend to forget that women are those who bear children. When men kill women they are killing our nation,” Ngwail said.

“As men we must use our power to protect women. But we too often use our power to harm which is basically wrong.”

story | by Dr. Radut