A harrowing incident in Cape Town, South Africa, has once again highlighted the grim reality of gender-based violence. A 25-year-old woman named Zizipho Nikita Kalubi, hailing from Somerset West, lost her left eye after a brutal attack that stemmed from her alleged rejection of an unwanted suitor.
The unsettling episode occurred on Saturday, August 26, 2023, at approximately 2 pm. Nikita and her boyfriend were returning from running errands when they encountered the alleged perpetrator, a man she had encountered only a few times in Khayelitsha Town Two. What transpired next was a nightmare that would change her life forever.
The harasser began his advances with catcalls and lewd comments, a behavior Nikita had sadly become accustomed to enduring from this individual. She recounted that this man consistently harassed her whenever he crossed her path. As a young woman, she was well aware of the challenges of dealing with such unwanted attention.
On this particular day, the situation escalated beyond what Nikita had ever experienced before. The man, emboldened by his desire, not only continued his vulgar remarks but also attempted to physically touch her, even though her boyfriend was present. This audacity shocked Nikita and her boyfriend, who promptly intervened, urging the aggressor to desist.
Despite the warning, the man persisted, reappearing in front of the couple just moments later. In a sudden, violent act, he struck Nikita in the face with a brick, causing her to lose consciousness instantly. The extent of the attack left her with severe injuries that necessitated immediate medical attention.
Nikita was taken to Khayelitsha Hospital, where her injuries were initially treated, including stitches for her wounds. However, the gravity of her injuries required her transfer to Tygerberg Hospital. There, she received the devastating news that her left eye was so severely damaged that it would need to be surgically removed. Furthermore, her nose had sustained fractures during the brutal assault.
Seeking a second opinion, Nikita’s mother took her to Vergelegen Hospital in Somerset, where they received the same grim prognosis—the removal of her left eye was unavoidable. On Tuesday, August 28, she underwent surgery to have her left eye removed, and she now awaits the healing process before receiving an artificial eye.
This horrifying incident has once again underscored the urgent need to address gender-based violence. Khanya Qongqo, the Founder of the Harare Community Action Network (CAN), expressed deep sympathy for Nikita’s ordeal. As an advocate against the abuse of women and children, she emphasized the distressing reality that women often live in constant fear of harm, even when engaging in simple activities like walking to the store. The fact that this attack occurred during Women’s Month in South Africa serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing struggle to combat gender-based violence and ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals, regardless of their gender.