Freed gender activists head straight back to front line in Cape Town

Pupils from Westerford High in Cape Town demonstrate outside their school on September 5 2019.
Pupils from Westerford High in Cape Town demonstrate outside their school on September 5 2019.
Image: Kai Nesbitt

Ten people arrested during Wednesday’s gender-violence protest outside the World Economic Forum on Africa were freed at 1am on Thursday.

Tweeting a video of the demonstrators leaving Cape Town Central police station, actor and comedian Siv Ngesi said: “10am we march again to parliament.”

On Monday, Ngesi was the driving force behind the hashtag #SAShutDown, calling on South Africans to take serious action against crime.

“I don’t really know how to feel about this country right now,” Ngesi said after a man accused of murdering and raping University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana appeared in court.


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For the second successive day, gender violence protesters were due to gather outside parliament on Thursday, with Ngesi in the vanguard.

“South Africans, we are all feeling extreme pain. We are feeling ashamed of how our country has let our young people down,” says a flyer about the demonstration.

“On Thursday we will gather outside parliament to mourn the heartbreak we feel as a nation.”

Protesters plan to hand over a memorandum of demands to a representative of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Police vehicles line the Heerengrahct traffic circle on September 5 2019 as World Economic Forum on Africa delegates arrive for the second day of the gathering.
Police vehicles line the Heerengrahct traffic circle on September 5 2019 as World Economic Forum on Africa delegates arrive for the second day of the gathering.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

Police presence near the WEF meeting at Cape Town International Convention Centre was dramatically scaled up on Thursday after demonstrators attempted to storm the meeting on Wednesday.

On Instagram, Ngesi said while South Africans are resilient, “we can't get used to it. Every single one of us should march. We should all be disgusted and ashamed. We shut this country down or do you wait until one of your family members gets brutally raped or murdered?”

UCT suspended lectures on Wednesday so students and staff could attend protests and memorial services.

The university remains closed on Thursday and Friday, and vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng announced on Wednesday that it would provide transport for 200 students to attend Mrwetyana’s funeral in the Eastern Cape this weekend.

Pupils at Westerford High School in Cape Town demonstrate against gender violence on M ain Road in Newlands on September 5 2019.
Pupils at Westerford High School in Cape Town demonstrate against gender violence on M ain Road in Newlands on September 5 2019.
Image: Tanya Farber

Pupils from Westerford High School, in Cape Town, dressed in black and lined Main Road in Newlands with posters about gender violence before school on Thursday.

Angered by the recent spate of violent attacks against women and children in South Africa, thousands of protesters gathered outside the Cape Town International Convention Centre on September 4 2019. The venue is where the World Economic Forum on Africa is being held, hosting delegates from around the world.


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