Fellow learners of 15-year-old Leticia Jansen say more needs to be done to end violence against women and children.
They were speaking at Jansen’s memorial service at their school – Graceland Education Centre – in Elsburg, east of Johannesburg.
The grade nine learner went missing on Wednesday last week before her body was found in an open veld near the N17 on Friday. Jansen had been raped and stabbed.
The mood was sombre at the memorial service as fellow learners paid tribute to Jansen. The school hall was packed to capacity, with some learners having to follow proceedings from outside the hall.
Jansen’s fellow learners say women are falling victim to ruthless men, much too often. Grade 9 learner Zanele Mashiloane says the bloodshed needs to stop.
“Why are women and children taught self-defense, modest dressing and other ways to avoid being raped. But men are not being taught not to rape. Number 2, why not recognize our divinity and our ability to walk through this earth as proud women. Number 3, how long and how much more tears do we have to shed; how much more blood, can’t you hear our cry’s. We are tired, we are tired…”
Jansen has been remembered as a kind, humble and loving person. Her classmate Nhlakanipho Mokoena says the last day they saw her was on Wednesday morning.
“The last time we actually saw her was on Wednesday. We all feel bad because a lot of people know her. I know there are so many people that don’t feel well and also who feel guilty that they should have been there or that were not able to help. But there is nothing you can do. When a person passes on you have to keep them inside of you. It’s not easy to let go and I am not saying let go of anyone. But keep them inside deep because everyone is always precious to you. And when they drift off you feel as if it’s a bad thing, but it’s not, they actually in a better place resting well. And I just want to say that I am sorry that we were not there to help you but may you please rest in peace.”
The 15-year-old Jansen was brutally attacked while walking to school, after missing the scholar transport. It’s alleged that the pick-up and drop off times of the school transport was changed without informing parents. The Gauteng Department of Education has suspended the school principal pending an investigation. They have also terminated the contract of the transport provider.
Deputy Principal Meshack Ramail says the school is devastated by Laticia’s death.
“Isiah 41 verse 10 reads as follows. So do not fear for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you with my gracious hand. To the family of Jansen this is the word that will comfort you and make you strong. To the learners we know very well you are heartbroken since you have lost one of your own and with these words we are saying please be comforted.”
Leticia will be laid to rest on Saturday.