Mom ‘broken’ by Khensani’s death

Khensani Maseko’s mother, Thobile Thembi Maseko, weeps as her daughter’s body is laid to rest at Nasrec Memorial Park, south of Johannesburg. Khensani‚ 23, a third-year Rhodes University student ‚ committed suicide last week
Khensani Maseko’s mother, Thobile Thembi Maseko, weeps as her daughter’s body is laid to rest at Nasrec Memorial Park, south of Johannesburg. Khensani‚ 23, a third-year Rhodes University student ‚ committed suicide last week
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

In a heartfelt tribute‚ Thobile Thembi Maseko said the death of her daughter‚ Khensani Maseko‚ had left her a broken woman.

“Khensi‚ your tragic passing left a gaping and bleeding hole in my heart. You were my pride and joy from the moment I held you for the first time.

“I loved you with every fibre in me‚” Thobile said in her tribute‚ written in Khensani’s funeral programme.

Khensani‚ 23, a Rhodes University third-year BA Law student‚ committed suicide on Friday last week in her Johannesburg home after she was allegedly raped in May.

Her funeral‚ which was held on Thursday at the Nasrec Memorial Park‚ was attended by Rhodes University vicechancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela and police minister Bheki Cele‚ among other dignitaries.

“You were my child and yet my little sister I never had. We had a wonderful life together.

“We shared the highs and the lows‚” Thobile said in her tribute.

Khensani was hailed by her friends‚ fellow students and the university as an “incredible” leader and a selfless person.

Rhodes University SRC member Nhlakanipho Mahlangu said: “When I found out she was running for presidency [of the Student Representative Council]‚ I was afraid.

“Khensani would come into the room and capture it with her aura. We looked up to her.”

She said she and Maseko were‚ at this time last year‚ running against each other for the SRC presidency at Rhodes.

“We need to change this country‚ this world‚ because it cannot be that when a parent gives birth to a girl child they must simultaneously prepare for her death.

“This is not fair‚ this is not right‚” Mahlangu said.

“Be proud of your daughter. She is not lying here because she was weak.

“She was a strong woman‚” she told the Maseko family.

“You raised an incredible leader‚ graceful in all her ways.”

Rhodes vice-chancellor Mabizela said to the family: “Your loss is our loss. This darkest night will give light to a new day.

“When news of her passing was communicated, there was a deep sense of shock.

“Our society has failed Khensani like it has failed many Khensanis.”

Mabizela said society must pay attention to how it raised and socialised boys.

“We must recognise that the majority of sexual assault cases are committed by those who profess to love the victims.

“We must confront beliefs and myths that perpetuate gender-based violence. We must stop it before it happens.

“It is my responsibility‚ your responsibility‚ to confront and eliminate gender-based violence in our society.

“I request parents to have open and honest conversations with their children about how to conduct relationships.”

EFF Gauteng chair Mandisa Mashego launched a blistering attack on Rhodes and the police ministry for failing to protect victims of rape and sexual assault at universities.

Mashego called Rhodes’s management hypocrites‚ saying its policies did not protect the rights of rape victims.

She said the police ministry should put satellite police stations at universities.

● EFF leader Julius Malema told a Women’s Day gathering in Edendale‚ Pietermaritzburg, that the man who allegedly raped Maseko was a “murderer” who must take responsibility for her death. –

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