Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated in its headline that UWC had also suspended activities. This was an error, which The Citizen regrets.
The University of Cape Town (UCT) has suspended its academic programme for the rest of the week to give “the campus community time for reflection and healing” as they continue to mourn the death of first year student, Uyinene Mrwetyana.
The news of Mrwetyana’s brutal murder, at the hands of a Post Office employee in Claremont, Cape Town, has gripped the country and her murder has raised the alarm on violence against women in the country.
On Wednesday, scores of students, university management and citizens alike marched to parliament and then took the protest to the doors of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), where various leaders were meeting for the World Economic Forum on Africa, attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
At the same time, a memorial service was held at UCT.
Outgoing Chancellor, Graça Machel, presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko and deputy minister of higher education, science and technology Buti Manamela were some of the attendees at the service.
Buti Manameli, deputy minister of higher education and training, says #UyineneMrwetyana should’ve been attending lectures, spending long hours in the library and eventually clutched her gown and graduation cap. Instead, she’s killed “while trying to post a letter”.
Also on Wednesday, a memorial service was held at the University of the Western Cape for student Jesse Hess, found murdered, together with her grandfather in their Parow home last week. UCT Vice-Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng, when asked on Monday how students would be allowed to mourn and grieve, said a decision would be made towards the end of the week, and in a student notice on Wednesday, a decision to suspend classes was confirmed.
No academic classes or tests will take place on September 5 and 6, the notice reads.
However, “exceptions would be made for activities that cannot be cancelled”.
Students at the university have also been encouraged to utilise student wellness offices available at the university.
“The student wellness service has also has also made arrangements for individual and group debriefings for students, extending their hours of service to offer students proper access to care,” the notice reads.