News / Africa

South African Rapist Gets Life in Prison

FILE - Protesters call for the South African government to act against rape and abuse of women in Cape Town on February 27, 2013.
FILE - Protesters call for the South African government to act against rape and abuse of women in Cape Town on February 27, 2013.
Anita Powell
A South African Court handed down a double life sentence to a young man convicted of raping and disemboweling a teenage girl and leaving her to die on Friday. The judge was unsparing, giving Johannes Kana the maximum possible sentence for raping, mutilating and killing 17-year-old Anene Booysen.
           
The 21-year-old now faces two concurrent life terms in prison, with no chance of parole.  Kana admitted that he raped Anene, but denied killing her.

He told the court that Anene resisted his sexual advances on that night in February in the Western Cape town of Bredasdorp.

So, he said, he punched her in the face, kicked her, knocked her down, raped her and then ran away.

The brutality of her rape and death has riveted South Africa.  A doctor told a local newspaper that the attackers sliced open the girl's body and pulled out her intestines with their hands.

Top South African officials, including the police minister, have praised the sentence.

Bianca Valentine, an attorney for the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre, concurs with that praise.  But, she says, Anene’s case is a rare instance of justice being done.  Her Johannesburg-based organization assists women who are victims of violence.

“I think that overall, unless you have extensive media coverage or you have victims who are being assisted by a well-structured and well-financed organization [that] is able to push the legal system, victims of sexual violence do not receive adequate and effective justice through the criminal justice system," said Valentine.

South African police documented more than 64,000 rapes last year.  A widely cited 2010 study found that more than a quarter of South African men say they have raped a girl or woman. One in seven men surveyed anonymously admit to taking part in a gang rape.

Still, Valentine says, Anene’s case has raised awareness in South Africa. It has been the most-watched rape case here since President Jacob Zuma was tried and acquitted of raping a family friend in 2005.

Referring to a controversial rape trial in Kenya, Valentine said sexual-violence incidents should be prosecuted firmly everywhere.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Nairobi on Thursday demanding justice for rape victims, after a teenage girl's rapists were forced to cut grass by local police as punishment for their crimes.

The 16-year-old victim has been confined to a wheelchair since she was gang-raped in June in western Kenya.

Valentine says all African nations need to push for better prosecution of all sexual violence cases, not just those that grab headlines.

“It’s a joke. And a country like Kenya," she said. "They should be setting an example to the rest of Africa so that this exposure and emphasis placed on the crimes against women, especially sexual violence, and that when a country like Kenya is not putting enough pressure on police and the prosecutorial system to recognize that in a sense sexual violence against women is an offense to the dignity and the worth of women, it sets a very bad precedent for the rest of Africa.”

Anene’s family did not have any immediate comment after Friday's sentencing.

When the girl's foster mother visited her rocky, unadorned grave two days ago, on Wednesday, she told a reporter had expected to be spending the day baking Anene’s favorite orange cake and celebrating with friends and family.

Wednesday would have been Anene's 18th birthday.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: H NASH from: SYDNEY AUS
November 03, 2013 1:14 AM
i think that life for the rapist is to leiant they should have the same treatment as they gave there victim an eye for eye ,

by: prince Nartey from: Ghana
November 01, 2013 3:56 PM
my condolences to anene's family but I think the culprit should have been sentence to death through disembowling as well to serve as a deterrent to other potential culprits

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs