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There must be a ‘factory manufacturing killer men’ in SA: Tears flow at service for slain TUT student

A photo of Ntokozo Xaba shared in a tribute. Photo: Facebook/Charles Awuzie

A photo of Ntokozo Xaba shared in a tribute. Photo: Facebook/Charles Awuzie

  • The Tshwane University of Technology held a memorial service for Ntokozo Xaba, who was murdered, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend.
  • Emotions ran high at the service, which was attended by scores of students clad in black T-shirts with Xaba’s face printed on them.
  • Professor Tinyiko Malulele said not even the protection orders which some women kept in their handbags had protected them from being killed.

Ntokozo Mayenzi Xaba would have celebrated her 21st birthday on Sunday. However, she is dead, and her dream of one day completing her PhD in integrated communications died with her.

Her voice is silent, and her bright smile is no more.

Xaba, a third-year student at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in Pretoria, was found stabbed to death at a campus residence last Thursday.

Former Blue Bulls County Districts rugby player Ngcebo Thusi was arrested in connection with the murder and appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Xaba’s name will not be on her diploma but next to the names of Tshegofatso Pule, Anene Booysen, Karabo Mokoena, Jesse Hess and Uyinene Mrwetyana – women who died at the hands of men.

READ | Nzimande to launch gender-based violence programme following murder of TUT student

“Ntokozo Mayenzi Xaba did not die; she was killed,” Professor Tinyiko Maluleke said in the opening remarks of his moving speech at Xaba’s memorial service on Thursday.

Maluleke, vice-chancellor and principal of TUT, said he was supposed to speak at Xaba’s graduation ceremony a few months from now, but her life had been cut short. 

Maluleke said: 

Somewhere in the rotten underbelly of our fraying country, there must be a factory that constantly manufactures killer men and distributes them strategically across every nook and cranny of the land so that no tribe, race, class or geographical locality is without these murderers who masquerade as boyfriends, husbands and uncles.

Emotions ran high at the memorial service, with scores of students clad in black T-shirts with Xaba’s face printed on them gathered at the hall on the South Campus to pay tribute. Students erupted in song as a slideshow with pictures of Xaba was played.

A placard “In Loving Memory of Ntokozo Mayenzi Xaba” stood next to a candle in the corner of the stage.

The song “Senzeni Na” (What have we done?) echoed through the hall as a candle was lit in remembrance of Xaba, while several women and students wept softly.

Maluleke said of all the “cocktails of violence” that characterised the country, gender-based violence was the most cowardly and dastardly.

ALSO READ | Man accused of TUT student Ntokozo Xaba’s murder appears in court

“You and I belong to a generation of South Africans who are currently witnessing yet another crime against humanity.

“Ladies and gentlemen, once again, a young South African woman has been killed, violently and mercilessly. Her name is Ntokozo Mayenzi Xaba,” Maluleke said.

He added:

Ntokozo Xaba was not murdered somewhere in the bushes or out in the street. She was murdered in the safest possible place she could be, her only home away from home, her room at eKhaya Junction residence. Not even the protection orders which some women keep in their handbags have protected them from being killed.

Maluleke said, in collaboration with the police, the university had established an anti-gender-based violence desk at the Faculty of Arts and Design.

“For Ntokozo Xaba’s sake, we dare not let the killers win. For Ntokozo’s sake, we, as institutions of higher learning, we as a society, dare not succumb to the treacherous, cowardly and debilitating logic of gender-based violence,” said Maluleke.

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