Kitty Phetla, dancer with the Joburg Ballet and one of South Africa’s leading ballerinas. She was photographed by Adrian Steirn as part of the 21 Icons Project, costumed as The Dying Swan, one of her most iconic roles and one she has performed for Nelson Mandela and the Dutch royal family (video)
It feels like our whole city is in mourning today, for the funeral of Karabo Mokoena. She was 22, and murdered violently. She went missing. Her family was frantic. She was found having being necklaced (burnt alive) and with acid burns. Her body was beyond recognition.
Karabo had just broken up with an abusive boyfriend. She photographed the injuries he left on her. When she went to the police, they told her to work the dispute out between the two of them. They refused to help. Now, that same ex boyfriend is the only suspect in her murder and has just been denied bail by the state. This could have been prevented.
Worse, we have astronomically high levels of gender violence in South Africa. Karabo’s story is sadly not just her own. Here are some of the case we know about just from this year alone:
Some of the South African women and girls killed by men:
• Priska Schalk, 29, stabbed to death with numerous knives in February. Boyfriend arrested. • Mananki Annah Boys, 28, stabbed and her body burnt and hidden in April. Boyfriend confessed. • Jeannette Cindi, 34, five months pregnant, raped, killed and burnt by five men in April. • Nicola Pienaar, 28, murdered and buried in shallow grave in January. Boyfriend arrested. • Akhona Njokana, 31, shot dead in January. Ex-boyfriend in custody. • Thapelo Ramorotong, 26, killed and burnt in a vehicle. Boyfriend arrested. • Unidentified woman, 34, raped, stoned and set alight by seven men in April. • Two-year-old girl raped and murdered in May. Father arrested. • Sthembile Mdluli, 37, murdered, hidden and only found days after being reported missing in April. Male friend arrested. • Meisie Molefe, 36, murdered, doused with paraffin and set alight in January. Boyfriend arrested. •Iyapha Yamile, 6, murdered and stuffed in a plastic bag in April. Two men arrested. • Stasha Arendse, 11, raped and killed in March. Convicted rapist arrested. • Mavis Mabala, 25, disappeared this week. Her body was recovered yesterday, hidden in the bush. Boyfriend arrested.
(I have deliberately chosen not to feature photos of Karabo’s injuries while alive, her body or her ex boyfriend.)
If black worlds exist(ed), would you be
welcome in them? The Nest Collective’s first entry into virtual
reality, “Let This Be A Warning”, explores a future in
which a group of Africans have left Earth to create a colony on a
distant planet. They respond with disquet to the arrival of an uninvited
The work will have its South African Premiere at the
Goethe-Institut Johannesburg from 2 to 4 June as part of Encounters
International Documentary Film Festival, and also show at The American
Corner, Central Library in Cape Town from 8 to 10 June. Presented by
Electric South and the Goethe Institut as part of the New Dimensions
Supported by Big World Cinema, Bertha Foundation and Blue Ice Docs Created and Produced by the Nest Collective Starring: Marrianne Nungo, Jason Runo, Jesse Mutakiwa, David Mukabi, Daniel Masheti, Nelvin Chuma and Ian Gichora