Anene’s gang rape not Bredasdorp’s first
Such horrific violence is commonplace in the Overberg town.
The gang rape that took the life of 17-year-old Anene Booysen was one of at least five incidents in the small Overberg town of Bredasdorp in the past five years, mayor Richard Mitchell told City Press.
Mitchell told funeralgoers, as Booysen was laid to rest yesterday, that although she cannot come back “we can give her a voice”.
“Her death must tell our country: Never, never again! Our hearts are broken, but what happened here does not define our community. Criminals who do these deeds must know – you won’t steal the promise of a better future in South Africa from us. Criminals won’t determine our future,” he said.
Revenge and angry messages are not what the community of Bredasdorp needs right now, said church pastor Arné Leuvennink.
These are people who are in deep grief and who first have to make sense of what happened here, he added.
And what happened here in the small Overberg town is almost too horrendous to recall.
Booysen was gang-raped, cut open and left for dead. She died 16 hours later, but first she gave the name of one of her alleged attackers to her foster mother, Corlia Olivier.
Her death unleashed a nationwide rage, not only in Bredasdorp, where about 1 000 people attended her funeral, but on social media, where the slogan was clear: Enough is enough.
“Anene’s mangled body is a mirror in which South Africa should look at itself. Our society must be helped to rise out of the ashes,” said Joseph Muggels, the church minister who led the prefuneral service.
Stellenbosch University vice-chancellor Russel Botman told the funeralgoers that the same society that stood up against apartheid must now stand up against crime.
“The future of our country lies in the hands of our born-frees.”
Western Cape MEC for safety and security Dan Plato said boys should be raised to have respect for women.
“A woman is not a sexual object. Violence against women is a curse in society.”
In Bredasdorp, drug addiction – especially tik – is commonplace.
“Don’t ask why the murders are so brutal. This is what drugs do to you. You lose it,” said Emily Plaatjies, a member of the town’s community policing forum.
“I see kids of eight or nine years old who use it.”
For her family, Booysen will remain the quiet, friendly child of Kanaan Street.
“She is now safe with Jesus. We thank Him for her purpose on earth.”
- Marlene Malan