It’s been just over a year since Karabo Mokoena went missing. A day later, on 29 April 2017, police found the 22-year-old’s body, burned and buried in a shallow grave. Karabo’s ex-boyfriend, Sandile Mantsoe, was a primary suspect and was arrested in Sandton two weeks later on 12 May 2017. Today, he was found guilty of murdering Karabo, as well as defeating the ends of justice, and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
Unbelievably, Sandile denies that he had any part in Karabo’s death. According to News24, he states that she committed suicide and he only disposed of her body after coming across the scene at his home. Sandile stands by his story that Karabo used to beat him up (which the judge did not accept as true) and suffered from tendencies to self-harm. Sandile’s sentencing will happen in the near future.
When the news broke of Karabo Mokoena’s death last year, the nation was in uproar as stories of femicide and gender-based violence (GBV) soon began surfacing from every corner of the country. This was a major force behind the #MenAreTrash movement, which sparked one of the most important conversations on GBV in South Africa in recent years. Sandile Mantsoe’s guilty verdict is thus an extra-important victory for women in South Africa who are harmed by their violent partners, and all women who are affected by gender-based violence.