Today a group of us head out to Khayelitsha to join in the vigil to remember the life of a young woman, Sinoxolo Mafevuka, who was found murdered there last week.
The same week when another young woman, Franziska Blöchliger, was found murdered in the Tokai forest.
Both murders are complete tragedies. The temptation is to add a ‘but’ or an ‘and’ and depending on what your context, background and connection is, try to make one seem somehow more serious, more tragic or worse than the other. But you cannot do that. They were both tragedies. That should both make us mourn equally and be as completely physically, mentally and spiritually raging against such an evil thing that can happen on our doorstep.
ALL DEATHS MATTER
When the #BlackLivesMatter movement started, it wasn’t long before someone started up an #AllLivesMatter hashtag as if by saying #BlackLivesMatter you were implying that other lives somehow didn’t matter. Rather it was the opposite. It should be an obvious thing to everyone that All Lives Matter, but for so long black lives had been treated as sub par, as less than, as inferior, that the #BlackLivesMatter movement was more about rallying to the call that #BlackLivesMatterAsWell or #BlackLivesMatterInTheSameWayThatWhiteLivesDo. You see, you never needed a tag for #WhiteLivesMatter, because history has been that tag. White Lives have always been shown to matter, Black Lives not so much.
So when it comes to the deaths of these two young woman, i find myself [and a group of friends] heading out to Khayelitsha to mourn the death of Sinoxolo Mafevuka, a woman i never knew, not because in any way at all, the life of Franziska mattered any less… but rather, because i don’t doubt for a second that being on the wealthier side of the line, there will be no end to support and noise and expense and attention for the life of Franziska, and we’ve seen that in the media… and i do think it is as important that there is support and noise and expense and attention given to someone who lived in a township [where deaths happen more frequently and with much less attention] so that no one can doubt for a second that both these murders mattered.
We go not to lead or share words or have any particular part in proceedings [i hope – really hoping the people who organised this will step back and be led by the community] but simple to pitch up. We hope that our presence will speak way louder and more effectively than any words we might have to offer. We go to let our bodies say that “Your daughter, your sister, your friend, your niece, mattered!”
Today we remember Sinoxolo Mafevuka.
Today we remember Franziska Blöchliger.