From the Editor
A woman is the victim of intimate femicide every eight hours in SouthAfrica. at’s three women every day
Ithink it’s pretty safe to say that every woman in South Africa felt a chill when she heard about the murder of Karabo Mokoena. I was standing at Woolworths, scanning the front pages of the newspapers, when I read that Karabo’s body had been found in the veld in Bramley, Johannesburg, and was so badly disfigured that a passer-by thought it was a burnt mannequin.
Karabo was a business student. She had loads of friends. She loved to dance. Perhaps that’s what rattled women across the nation – the realisation that she’s ‘just like us’.
At the time of going to print, Karabo’s boyfriend Sandile Mantsoe is standing trial for her murder. Witnesses claim they saw the pair fighting in a Sandton club the night Karabo disappeared, and Sandile has admitted to the police that he disposed of her body by burning it in a field the following day. But he claims he didn’t kill her.
Regardless of what happens in court, and whether Sandile is found guilty or not, we need to talk about intimate femicide – the murder of a woman at the hands of her partner. A woman is the victim of intimate femicide every eight hours in South Africa. That’s three women every day. Three women. Today.
It’s clearly something South African women are ready to talk about too. Within hours of Karabo’s body being found, the Men Are Trash hashtag had gone viral on Twitter. And while there were, understandably, conflicting feelings about the movement, something mind-blowing happened – women started to share their experiences of abuse for the first time. Because if we lift the shame and remove the humiliation in order to help women speak out, then maybe we can work on reducing the number of our sisters that we lose to intimate femicide. Maybe?
It’s something actress Sonia Mbele feels strongly about too. A close friend of Karabo’s, Sonia wishes Karabo had found the courage to speak to her about any abuse that she may have suffered. Intent on setting an example of courage, Sonia has spoken to COSMO’s Sarah Browingde Villiers to open up, for the first time, about her own story of abuse. You’ll find that on page 58.