A young law student is believed to have taken her own life just months after she was allegedly raped at the university she attended.
Khensani Maseko was found dead after a tragic final Instagram post listed her date of birth and Friday’s date – the date of her death – along with the caption: “No one deserved to be raped!!”
The 23-year-old’s death has led to shock and anger in South Africa, and a full academic shutdown at Rhodes University as it faced increasing pressure from students.
They demanded an opportunity to mourn Miss Maseko and demonstrate over their claims of a rape culture at the university.
Miss Maseko died on Friday afternoon at her family’s home in Johannesburg, about 600 miles north of the campus in Grahamstown.
The third year BA student had claimed that she was raped at the university in May.
She had been elected to Rhodes’ Student Representative Council (SRC), was voted Miss Varsity for the 2017-18 university year and was involved in a number of student activities.
On Monday, the university said it would suspend the student who allegedly raped Miss Maseko.
Rhodes lowered its flag to half-mast and agreed to an academic shutdown for one day.
Angry students had gathered at the university’s administration building to demand the shutdown so they could mourn and protest the alleged rape culture at Rhodes, Dispatch Live reported.
Rhodes’ SRC, which lobbied for the shutdown, said in a statement that Miss Maseko’s final Instagram post was a “haunting suggestion” that her death was tied to her “being a survivor of sexual assault”.
University vice-chancellor Sizwe Mabizela said Rhodes would ask South Africa’s national police force and National Prosecuting Authority to begin an inquest into the death.