Yesterday, Sonke Gender Justice and members of the Delft community marched in solidarity against the violence inflicted on the women and children of Delft. As the march neared the part of Delft where nine-year old Queen was raped and murdered earlier this year, more community members joined the march. On the back of their T-shirts: a photo of Queen, and the words “Justice for Queen. Stop! Abusing our Children Speak Out Against Gender Based Violence!”
Afterwards, in collaboration with Delft police, a community dialogue and discussion took place. Many members of the community where Queen lived were present. The community members sang the South African national anthem movingly in a hymn-like fashion. Members of the community and Queen’s family (including her grandmother) were present to speak to the police about their feelings regarding the case and to have their questions answered.
Queen died two months after she was raped and set on fire in Delft. Miraculously, she was still alive when she was found, and named her attacker as a man who lived in the neighborhood. When he was apprehended, police say the man had fresh burn wounds and visible scratch marks on his body. But at this point, the case is not being prosecuted due to lack of evidence and Queen’s accused murderer walks free.
The police Constable explained to the community members at Sonke’s dialogue what the police were doing to keep the case open, and said that they’re waiting on tests to come back before they can reopen the case.
Sonke will be following this case and doing what we can to both ensure that Queen’s murder is properly prosecuted, and also to engage the Delft community and the Delft Community Action Team (CAT) in awareness and mobilisations to combat gender-based violence and promote gender equality, non-violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
By Czerina Patel (with contributions from Nicole Brewer and Damien Schumann)
Photos by Damien Schumann and Nicole Brewer