• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

Uyinene, a Movement to restore humanity


Nomangwane and her son Esona Mrwetyana made their first public appearance since the death of their daughter and sister. The family launched the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation on Friday.

By Khuthala Nandipha

A purposeful looking Mrwetyana family walked the streets of Makhanda with hundreds of high school learners, Rhodes University students and staff, feminists’ groups, members of various churches and the Eastern Cape community to introduce the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation (UMF) on Friday, November 29, 2019.


The walk was followed by an official launch of the UMF at the Kingswood College, where Uyinene studied. Nomangwane Mrwetyana announced that the site of Uyinene’s violent death, Clareinch Post Office in Cape Town, will be closed down and transformed into a wellness centre, a place of healing and hope, that provides holistic care and support of the survivors of gender-based violence.

“The Foundation symbolises the crossover onto the other side; where there is no mourning. We lost our daughter through an act she detested with every thread of her being; gender-based violence. We will partner with multiple stakeholders to capacitate young people to stand against violence in our communities,” said the Director for Student Affairs at Rhodes University and a qualified Psychologist.


When her daughter was murdered, Nomangwane says she sat down, reflected and thought critically about the world we are raising our children in. What has gone wrong? Where are we missing it as communities? The answer to these questions can never be uncovered by a single organisation.

“As someone who has been working with young people in the space of Gender-Based Violence, we will partner with tertiary institutions to provide accredited courses on gender-sensitive leadership skills to change physical spaces in our communities that have been associated with trauma and violence into spaces of healing,” she said.


Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, former South African Deputy President and currently the Executive Director of United Nation Women thanked the Mrwetyana family for using their pain and loss to support women and girls in our society.

“Leaders of state institutions responsible for protecting children and women must ensure decisive prosecution and elimination of those that are a danger to our society. Uyinene’s death could have been avoided if the Post Office did its work properly in checking employees backgrounds. We also need to change the norms and thinking around men and boys. In this fight, there can be no bystanders. Families must empower girls so they can tell signs and risks of people that present danger to them,” said Ngcuka.


South African feminists and academics Phumla Gqola and Mailaka Mahlatse facilitated a Hackathon that showed that women believe that the single biggest threat to their safety is men. They also believe that education is a vehicle to changing society and realise their dream world values where masculinity is unpacked and women are taught to stop teaching masculinity to boys.


Uyinene was remembered as an intellectual, a musician, a fashionista, a runner, a dancer, and a philosopher. “I am told she was Insta- goals (Instagram),” chuckled her mother who appeared to be lighter in spirit.


The Foundation is to become the custodian of Nene’s memory and commits to facilitate and promote her lifelong vision of fighting all forms of injustice against women.

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