• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

UCT’s scholarship in honour of murdered teen

Mamokgethi Phakeng, Vice Chancellor for the University of Cape Town announced that the institution would be setting up a scholarship fund for women in humanities in memory of Uyinene Mrwetyana (20), an East London film student who was raped and murdered by a Post Office employee in Cape Town last month. Phakeng made the announcement during Mrwetyana’s funeral in Abbotsford.

“Uyinene was a talented student of our university. She was intellectually capable and she lived her life boldly. We have made a commitment that we at UCT will not allow Uyinene’s death to just remain another statistic,” said the Vice Chancellor.

According to UCT spokesperson, Elijah Moholola, one of the ways that UCT hopes to restore Uyinene’s aspirations and take a stand against the crime that ended her life, by establishing the Uyinene Mrwetyana scholarship.

Through the scholarship, UCT wishes to provide opportunities to other young women who dream of a career in the discipline of the humanities. The scholarship will be offered to female students who wish to study at UCT for their first year with the intention of pursuing a career within the field of humanistic social sciences and the liberal arts.

“Each time the scholarship is awarded, it will be like a conscious reminder of the tragic circumstances under which Uyinene’s life was taken and spur the scholarship recipients on to keep the flame of her legacy burning brightly. Each time Uyinene’s name is mentioned in this way, she will always be alive to us as we work together towards ending the scourge of gender-based violence,” said Moholola.

Since Mrwetyana’s death, the university has introduced a special ad hoc tribunal to deal with cases of gender based violence. The university has also created an online reporting tool that makes the reporting of sexual and gender-based violence, user friendly and accessible.

The university plans to provide staff and students with a sexual and gender-based violence toolkit, as well as a personal alarm device. UCT is also scaling up voluntary self-defence classes that were part of a pilot programme earlier this year.

According to Moholola, the UCT community has already started contributing to the scholarship. A fund has been set up for any person or corporate wishing to contribute towards the scholarship.

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