Western Cape universities will be in mourning today following the deaths of students in recent weeks.
UWC and UCT will host special commemoration ceremonies for first-year students Jesse Hess and Uyinene Mrwetyana, both aged 19, today.
Theology student Hess was found murdered last Friday along with her 85-year-old grandfather Chris at their home in Victoria Street, Parow.
Chris was reportedly found tied up in the toilet and gagged, while Jesse was found on a bed. The police have yet to make arrests but were following up on leads, said spokesperson FC van Wyk.
Film and media student Mrwetyana, fondly known as Nene, was allegedly killed by a 42-year-old man who worked at the Clareinch Post Office in Claremont when she went to collect a parcel.
The man, whose name and picture are being withheld as an identity parade must still be held, has allegedly confessed to raping her and then bludgeoning her repeatedly with a scale, and dumping her body in Lingelethu West, Khayelitsha.
UWC spokesperson Gasant Abarder said the campus community, including students and staff, were in a state of grief.
“The university is planning an event to commemorate Hess, and a gesture of solidarity against violence against women and children during the day.
“The university has been in contact with her family and has offered support during this difficult time,” said Abarder.
The commemoration is expected to take place at UWC’s main hall from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.
UCT spokesperson Nombuso Shabalala said the campus community was bereaved and angry.
UCT initiated a gender-based violence campaign called #JustNo yesterday, and will host a memorial today.
Universities South Africa (USAf) chief executive officer Professor Ahmed Bawa said: “Universities need to lead South Africa towards that change. It is not enough for our institutions of higher learning to simply recognize the prevalence of gender-based violence.
“They have to act to change the culture that generates such violence against women and children.”
The South African Union of Students called for authorities to put effective measures in place to safeguard women.