In Pictures: Rape Activist shares special moments from her 448km nostalgic walk

Reading Time: 7 minutes

This year, on the 28th commemoration of the traumatic sexual assault that left her for dead and changed her life forever, Leilani Kuter, founder of Yellow For Survivors began a 448km journey, tightening her laces to shine a spotlight on survival and gender-based violence.

Starting on the 1st of September, in Danville, Pretoria, where she was born and raised, Leilani began a 16-day nostalgic journey, walking 28km per day, revisiting significant moments in her life.

Her walk, in defiance of systemic violence against women, men, and children, ended on the 16th of September at Eat@43 restaurant in Krugersdorp, Johannesburg.

Leilani’s awareness campaign, has thus far raised a total of R155 460.92 towards her fundraising target of R280 000 on crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddywith contributions from donors across the country and around the globe.

Funds raised from now until the campaign closes in August 2021, will be used to support various rape crisis centers across South Africa.

Donate on BackaBuddy

Upon finishing her walk, Leilani shared this short message to supporters.

“What an awesome journey! 16 Days of laughter, tears, pain, joy, love and kindness. I revisited my past and made new memories and formed new friendships. I saw the most beautiful sunrises and breath-taking sunsets. I heard so many stories that both inspired me and encouraged me to push forward. Thank you to each and everyone for the support, love, words of encouragement, and donations”

What has Leilani learned about herself this time around?

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned with my nostalgic walk is that we as individuals are capable of so much, we just need to believe in ourselves. Even though I was in so much physical pain near the end of my walk, I remained committed, because in the end, knowing what you have accomplished makes it all worth it. And as they say, pain is temporary” – says Leilani Kuter

Take a look at some of the memorable moments from Leilani’s nostalgic walk.

Day 1 – Danville

Leilani the self-proclaimed “Danville Diva” at the entrance of her hometown
Leilani at the home where she grew up in Danville
Leilani with Sithole Nqobile

Day 2 – The Moot (Pretoria)

Leilani with her mum, Martie at her childhood home on Dassie street.
Leilani on the street she used to live.
Leilani at her old high school, Hoërskool Hercules.
Leilani in front of the shopping centre where she worked at the OK Bazaars, her first job as a teenager.

Day 3 – Middelburg

84 km completed
Leilani meets a ‘fan’ in Middleburg
Almost there!
112km done!

Day 4 – Vanderbiljpark

Leilani with Annari du Plessis from the Go Purple Foundation. One of the organisations Yellow For Survivors supports.
Leilani with Adele Enslin and Melissa Louw.

Day 5 – Vanderbiljlpark

Leilani with the Go Purple Foundation

Day 6 – The Cradle

Leilani at ‘For Goodness sake” walking in The Cradle.
Yellow flowers greet Leilani along the way.

Day 7 – Sunnyside

Leilani having a quick bite at Loftuspark.
Leilani visits the Ninon apartment building in Sunnyside where she stayed after her assault at the NG Kerk Youth Centre in 1992.

Day 8 – Potchefstroom

Leilani stayed on the hospital grounds with her first love, Sven Kip in 1994. Potch is also the town she learned to drive a car!
Leilani with Anita Joubert and Lee Pretorius who walked with her in Potchefstroom.
Leilani resting her legs after completing 224km.

Day 9 – Dunkeld, Sandton

Geeta Bullah, a loyal supporter of YellowForSurvivors, walked the full 28km with Leilani. 

Day 10 – The Cradle

Leilani with cameraman and campaign confidant, Gerhard Botes.
Leilani’s story in the Beeld.

Day 11 – The Cradle

Leilani with her friend, Nickey Seger.

Day 12 – Moreleta Park

The GHP Coaching Tribe dressed in yellow to support Leilani during a club run in Valhalla, Centurion
Leilani with Ilze Van Aswegen, an old school friend she last saw 20 years ago. They walked together in Moreletapark.

Day 13 – Cullinan

Leilani in Culinan.
Betsie Botes, Elainne Botes and Leilani resting after the day’s walk.

Day 14 – Irene

Leilani with Temcke Zwiegelaar, her friend, Yolande Meulke, and Gerhard Botes.

Leilani sits down with eNCA news for an interview.

Day 15 –  Maropeng

Leilani, Cllr Amelia Bester, Aladia Mahomed, Imraam Mahomed and supporters in Maropeng
Leilani shares an inspirational message that encouraged her to pull through.

Day 16 – Krugersdorp

Leilani rests her feet after completing her emotional 448km journey.
Leilani with Lizet Coelho Rosen and Charlie Bezuidenhout-Hollingsworth from SA Women Fight Back. Yellow For Survivors pledged R28 000 to the organisation in support of their work fighting gender-based violence
All smiles at the finish line! Well done, Leilani!

Leilani’s interview on SABC News after her walk.

Walking to heal the wounds of her past

Up until last year, Leilani’s story was in many ways a private ‘family secret’.

She has since become an outspoken advocate and voice for women’s rights and gender-based violence in South Africa. Leilani has also launched a charitable organization, YellowForSurvivors to raise awareness about rape and sexual abuse.

“Walking has become a big part of my healing process and I’ve learned, as I get older, that you can’t run away from your past. You need to confront it head-on in order to move on. For this reason, I am going back to the places where I’ve shared both good and bad memories, in hopes to inspire others to do the same” – says Leilani

To support Leilani’s campaign, make a donation on BackaBuddy here:
Alternatively, make a donation via Snapscan

*Donors will be eligible for Section 18 tax certificates, issued by Leilani’s non-profit company, YellowForSurvivors.

Listen to Leilani’s story on the Aha Africa podcast here

Connect with Leilani and YellowForSurvivors

YellowForSurvivors was founded in 2019 by Leilani Kuter. The organisation aims to raise awareness around sexual abuse and rape, whilst raising funds to make a difference in lives of  Gender-based violence survivors in South Africa. Contact YellowForSurvivors.

Follow Leilani on Instagram or connect with her via her Facebook page.
Leilani Kuter. Image credit: Spar

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