All deaths matter: In memory of Sinoxolo and Franziska

/, pain and Hope, things to wrestle with/All deaths matter: In memory of Sinoxolo and Franziska

All deaths matter: In memory of Sinoxolo and Franziska

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.


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.



By |2016-03-12T10:33:07+00:00Mar 12th, 2016|challenging thorts, pain and Hope, things to wrestle with|12 Comments

About the Author:

Brett Fish is a lover of life, God, tbV [the beautiful Valerie] and owns the world's most famous stuffed dolphin, No_bob (who doesn't bob). He believes that we are all responsible for making the world a significantly better place for everyone.


  1. Charmaine Mar 12, 2016 at 11:30 am - Reply

    They both do matter equally but while did you not go to memorials for people who died in the past that you did not know. It seems you’re using the deaths to prove some kind of point or to seek attention. Secondly if you’re so prious you should have gone to both memorials. Thirdly why do you feel you must tell everyone, are you wanting a badge? I really find your jumping onto this a tad bandwagonning and exploitive of a tragic situation. Look, you hate affluent people. You seem to hate anyone who is successful in life. You need to examine your motives.

    • brettfish Mar 12, 2016 at 11:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks Charmaine. i do not hate affluent people at all. And am certainly not intending to “use the deaths to prove some kind of point” – my point is that both deaths need to be viewed as a tragedy. At the same time while we are taking note of that it is also helpful to see the different kinds of attention each death receive and ask why the difference? Our presence in Khayelitsha definitely meant a lot to many of the people there today as they tend to not get the attention when one of their own dies and so a group of people going through and saying “We see you” and “You do matter” was really helpful for them. My motives are for all of us to be examining both our motives for why we do what we do and also our contexts and relationships and see where each of us can do better.

  2. JaneF Mar 12, 2016 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Nicely put. I was there today. And I think it’s important to note that Franziska was not white actually. It really is not about race. But perhaps it does and has highlights the difference between the haves and the have nots. I attended today because I do believe #AllLivesMatter and I want to help where there is not (yet) enough help.

    • brettfish Mar 12, 2016 at 11:41 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jane and for being there today. i don’t think i suggested that Franziska was white and directly this is definitely a difference between rich and poor but because the face of rich vs poor tends to be white vs black [for the most part, with exceptions] this is still a thing of race unfortunately… but yes a more direct focus on rich vs poor might have been more helpful…

  3. Gary Mar 13, 2016 at 9:32 am - Reply

    we will hear what happened to her when the accused go to trial and her family will be able to have some closure. But the outrage at her murder is justified.

    No one should be taken away in such a mindless manner, especially not someone as young as Franziska.

    As a father of three daughters, I feel extremely distraught whenever I hear about such incidents.

    I worry about my daughters when they are on the road, although they are adults; now I will probably worry even more.

    A father’s concern for his daughters never ends.

    But even if I did not have daughters, I would have found this incident disturbing.

    One of the key rights of any citizen – irrespective of race or class – is to be safe. If one is not able to jog in a place like Tokai Forest without fear of being mugged or even killed, there is something seriously wrong.

    I am one of many who enjoy walking on the mountain and I used to enjoy walking by myself. It gave me time to reflect on issues, think about the challenges I face and often come up with solutions to problems that seemed complicated.

    There was nothing I enjoyed more than being alone on the mountain, at peace with nature.

    Lately, I have been far more careful about where and when I walk and I no longer do so alone. One cannot help but be influenced by reports of people mugged on the mountain.

    Tokai Forest is a place people from all over Cape Town frequent, whether it be to braai, picnic or begin a hike in the mountains. It is peaceful at times, raucous at others, but always a place of beauty enjoyed by many.

    It will now forever be associated with murder, irrespective of the outcome of any trial.

    There are those who have questioned the media coverage generated by this murder. They have raised issues of race and class and want to know why certain other murders, in less privileged areas, did not attract the same amount of attention.

    I sincerely believe this criticism unjustified. If a young, black, homeless girl had been killed in Tokai Forest, I suspect

  4. Gary Mar 13, 2016 at 9:37 am - Reply

    I suspect it would have been the same outcome.

    So please try not to jump to conclusions and take out incorrect assumptions from all of this.

    I think some are not that involved with townships as its mostly thousands arriving all the time in our areas from eastern Cape. They arrive and demand. Arrive and demand.

    The Western Cape has its own budget and this makes it hard to fund these people. If the money cane from the national budget then it may be doable, but at the moment it’s a case of let’s rock up in Cape Town and make demands for free houses, food, airtime. Many people in Cape Town don’t own but rent. These people should get houses before the eastern capers.

    Lastly and perhaps taboo. The victims are different races, one being coloured and one black, but what race are the perpetrators and why does it seem that they are always doing crime? Is the perception correct? I’m starting to wonder.

  5. linde Mar 14, 2016 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    WTF “Thousands arriving all the time in our areas” “They arrive and demand”? WTF? This is the most racist comment I’ve read today.

    1. “Our areas” actually according to the LAND ACT, Cape Town is their area as people from the Eastern Cape were moved there by the apartheid government from Cape Town and other urban areas of the country. So actually grant you’re demanding too much in their area.

    2. What exactly are they “demanding”? Basic human rights that have they have been denied for decades, while the old government ensured that people such as yourself benefit and have the audacity to say the things you say.

    3. Your questions are ignorant ! OScar Pisorius, Modemolle Monster.and the serial killer Danish gunstore owner, are all white,middle-class to rich white people and the list continues. Violent crimes in South Africa are not perpetuated by black people as you imply you ignorant racist TWAT!

    • brettfish Mar 14, 2016 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Thank you Linde. i LOVE the word Twat when it applies…

    • Jordy Mar 14, 2016 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      There were only Khoisan in Western Cape when Dutch arrived, followed by English. No xhosa or Zulu were moved from Western Cape to eastern Cape. Just a fact.

      We do need a better solution. Can you come up with one? I say to help them in their areas of the eastern Cape. Western Cape really is too small to support more than a couple million people.

    • Jordy Mar 14, 2016 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      There are 2 million Zimbabwean people in South Africa. Latest figures, a few hundred thousand in Western Cape. Hiw is apartheid to blame for this?

      Anyway solution is to support them. Where they live in eastern Cape. Donations, build infrastructure there. Western Cape is way too small to fit half of SA and Zimbabwe.

      Let’s gear a factual, logical and reasoned reply.

    • Jane Mar 15, 2016 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      The Xhosa are part of the South African Nguni migration which slowly moved south from the region around the Great Lakes, displacing the original Khoisan hunter gatherers of Southern Africa. Xhosa peoples were well established by the time of the Dutch arrival in the mid-17th century, and occupied much of eastern South Africa from the Fish River to land inhabited by Zulu-speakers south of the modern city of Durban.[4]

      Xhosa people, 1848
      The Xhosa and white settlers first encountered one another around Somerset East in the early 18th century. In the late 18th century Afrikaner trekboers migrating outwards from Cape Town came into conflict with Xhosa pastoralists around the Great Fish River region of the Eastern Cape. Following more than 20 years of intermittent conflict, from 1811 to 1812 the Xhosas were forced east by British colonial forces in the Third Frontier War.

      In the years following, many Xhosa-speaking clans were pushed west by expansion of the Zulus, as the northern Nguni put pressure on the southern Nguni as part of the historical process known as the mfecane, or “scattering”. The Xhosa-speaking southern Nguni people had initially split into the Gcaleka and the Rharhabe (who had moved westwards across the Kei river). Further subdivisions were made more complicated by the arrival of groups like the Mfengu and the Bhaca from the Mfecane wars. These newcomers came to speak the Xhosa language, and are sometimes considered to be Xhosa. Xhosa unity and ability to resist colonial expansion was further weakened by the famines and political divisions that followed the cattle-killing movement of 1856. Historians now view this movement as a millennialist response both directly to a lung disease spreading among Xhosa cattle at the time, and less directly to the stress to Xhosa society caused by the continuing loss of their territory and autonomy

      Education matters. You should do your research.

      • Jordy Mar 16, 2016 at 7:57 am - Reply

        It’s well known that white people did indeed settle in Western Cape before xhosa and Zulu. Khoisan were there before whites but they mostly died out from diseases brought by settlers. Xhosa and Zulu migrants of today don’t have historical claims to the land in Western Cape. Other areas yes, but not in Western Cape.

        This country is in free-fall and I doubt it will end well. We need to get out the rot in government otherwise it’s just paying lip service to a rotten fruit. Nothing we do will help unless we get a better government. It’s just that far along now.

        For every white that leaves, they raise taxes so others must cover everything. It’s not sustainable.

        Can we get the churches to encourage supporters to get Zuma out and put in a decent leader.

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