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The death of a 23-year-old student, who killed herself two months after she alleged she was raped has renewed anger over sexual violence against women in South Africa.
Khensani Maseko, a student at the Rhodes University in Grahamstown, said she was raped by another student in May, according to a statement by the university.
On August 3, the day she took her own life, Maseko posted a cryptic message on social media.
“No one deserves to be raped,” she wrote and posted on Instagram with a picture showing what is believed to be her date of birth and that day’s date.
Maseko’s account has since been removed from Instagram.
Rhodes University confirmed her death and said authorities held a meeting with Maseko’s parents after she reported in July that she had been raped.
The university says it was agreed that Maseko should be taken home pending an investigation into her allegations.
The third-year student died a few days before her scheduled return to the university, where she was to meet with those investigating the case at the institution.
The man accused of the rape has been suspended, the university said in the statement posted on its website, adding that it was working with South Africa’s police and the National Prosecuting Authority to launch an inquest into Maseko’s death.
Police have not released the suspect’s name.
“The tragic passing of Khensani will not mark an end to the investigation into the circumstances leading up to her passing,” Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor Dr. Sizwe Mabizela said.
The university’s flag will be flown at half-staff to honor Maseko, Mabizela added.
There was a mass outpouring of grief from friends, family and the university community as the student was laid to rest in Johannesburg Thursday.
Maseko’s mother in an emotional tribute to her daughter, said her death has left a “gaping and bleeding hole” in her heart, local media reported.
“Khensi‚ your tragic passing left a gaping and bleeding hole in my heart. You were my pride and joy from the moment I held you for the first time. I loved you with every fibre in me‚” Thembi Thobile Maseko said at the funeral.
“You were my child and yet my little sister I never had. We had a wonderful life together. We shared the highs and the lows.”