Akhona Geveza - Did Rape Lead To Suicide?
Like many youngsters Akhona Geveza had her own Facebook site but unlike many youngsters she was a seafarer so the opportunity to update her page came few and far between. Her suicide at the age of 19, two weeks before completing the training that would begin her career as a navigating officer, means that her page will fall silent, but silence is not an option for those seeking justice for this young woman.
On 25 January, in Facebookese Akhona Geveza wrote: “Ey gudpeople 2day is my last day in South Africa *crying* sometymz in lyf have to choose btwn the ones we love and education.anyway i love you all guys i wll miss u you all.” In March she made her last entry: “enjoying my time in Korea,missing u all”
A South African National Ports Authority, Transnet, cadet doing her onboard training on the container ship, Safmarine Kariba – was found to be missing around noon on 24 June. After a two hour search, her body was found at sea by local police near the port of Rijeka, Croatia where the vessel was due to berth.
A memorial service was held onboard the Safmarine Kariba on Friday, 25 June 2010. The vessel’s engine was stopped soon after the vessel had left the port of Rijeka at the location where Ms Geveza was found. The crew gathered on the bridge wing, the ship’s horn was blown and a minute of silence was observed as the crew lowered a floral wreath into the sea in remembrance of Ms Geveza.
South African newspapers subsequently reported claims that she had told a colleague she had been raped by the ship’s Ukrainian chief officer. Other Transnet cadets were quoted making allegations of male and female rape, pregnancy and bullying and harassment.
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