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Femicide in South Africa: Cape Town women are waging war on gender-based violence

By Heiner Hoffmann

17 Jan 2023 · 10 min read

Editor's Note

It's one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women. Der Spiegel provides a vivid on-the-ground report on the female activists, police officers, and prosecutors fighting to change this.

(This piece is part of the Global Societies series. The project runs for three years and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.)

The sun is shining, the buildings are colorful, the lawn is green. Jehaan laughs loudly as she talks to her aunt Tasneem, whom she calls "mother" because Tasneem is raising her. Hearts are emblazoned on the facades, it looks a bit like it could be straight out of an Astrid Lindgren children's story, a peaceful, idyllic place. Only, it's not the reality. Jehaan drew the picture shortly before her death. It was a depiction of how she wanted life to be in Hanover Park, one of Cape Town's most violent neighborhoods. A few days later, she was dead, likely beaten to death with a concrete block. "Unnatural cause of death," her death certificate states. Jehaan was 17.

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