Young member of virginity testing group raped and strangled to death

Young member of virginity testing group raped and strangled to death

12 year old member of virginity testing group raped and strangled to death—

“I raped and killed your daughter.”
This was the chilling statement allegedly made by a herdsman after he allegedly strangled Emihle Tukani to death.

The 12-year-old girl was found dead in Mputhi Village in Bhaziya outside Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.

The Grade 5 pupil was a member of Inkciyo, a group of young boys and girls who undergo virginity testing to promote abstinence from sex.

On Saturday, the young girl’s half-naked body was found just outside her family kraal.

On Monday, her family, joined by the Inkciyo KSD (King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality) group and the Joyi Traditional Council, gathered at Tukani’s home for her memorial service.

Tukani’s 45-year-old uncle Mayandiswe Sifuba said the family was struggling to come to terms with Tukani’s death.

This is very painful for me, especially because the suspect had been staying at my place for a year as he worked as a herdsman.
“On Saturday, Emihle’s grandmother sent her to fetch R10 from the suspect who was known as Mqwathi [47]. Unfortunately, that was the last time she was seen alive,” Sifuba said.

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He explained that the girl’s grandmother grew worried when she did not return home.

“When Emihle’s mother came back, she heard she was sent to fetch R10 from Mqwathi but was not back. She decided to go to look for her. Mqwathi was very rude to her when she asked about her daughter. Both the grandmother and Emihle’s mother went to Mqwathi again to ask about Emihle. He first chased them away, saying he does not know where Emihle went. It was at this stage that the mother started crying, which drew the attention of the villagers,” the uncle explained.

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Sifuba said Mqwathi attempted to flee when he saw the villagers, but was quickly caught and interrogated by them.

“He confessed that he raped and strangled Emihle to death. He then showed the villagers where he had taken Emihle’s body,” Sifuba added.

Angry villagers allegedly took the law into their own hands and killed Mqwathi. He died at the scene.

Ncediwe Langa, secretary of the Inkciyo KSD group, said they were deeply hurt by this heinous act.

She said:

We were preparing to go for the Indoni audition in May. Indoni is a moral regeneration programme targeting the youth by using identity-focused programmes as a tool for addressing social ills and bringing about behavioural change.
She explained that, as a group, they did not only conduct virginity tests, but also advised young people about their future.

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“Emihle wanted to be a social worker so she could build her family a big house. It was her dream to better her family situation, but, sadly, that will not happen as her life was cut short by a cruel man,” she said.

Children’s rights organisation Khula Community Development Programme director Petros Majola said he was saddened by the incident.

“I understand that by joining Inkciyo at a young age, she was trying not to participate in any sexual activities as her focus was on her education. It is very sad that she was subjected to a very painful experience from a 47-year-old man who forced himself on her,” Majola said.

Tukani will be laid to rest next Monday.

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