Owner of Date Night SA, Leilani Kuter (45) from Roodepoort, Gauteng was brutally raped and left for dead when she was only 18 years old and living at the NG-Church Youth Centre in Vermeulen Street, Pretoria.

She unknowingly let a dangerous man in his late 20s by the name of ‘Frankie’ into her room and what followed changed Leilani’s life forever.

“In a split second, he was on top of me. I tried to reason with him but he wouldn’t listen. He strangled me and then raped me so brutally I lost consciousness. He then took a belt from my cupboard and strangled me more in the hope that I die.

I vaguely remember the kitchen knife in my top drawer and weighing up whether or not I should try and reach for it. When he was done, he left me lying naked, bloodied, with a belt wrapped around my neck and my life changed forever.

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When the police finally arrived, they explained it was the sixth rape case reported in the area in just one week. The police were very nonchalant about the rape. Speaking to me, it was as if they were asking me how I liked my eggs done,” says Leilani.

Twenty-seven years later, Leilani decided to break her silence and speak out about her ordeal to start a dialogue to empower other women, men and children and free them from the stigma that rape carries

Starting on 16 September, wearing yellow, the colour her attacker wore, Leilani started a 27-day journey, walking 27km a day to take a stand against sexual assault and gender-based violence in South Africa.

Taking her last step at the Ruimsig parkrun in Roodepoort on 12 October, completing a total distance of 729km, Leilani says that the experience taught her a lot about herself and the kindness of others.

“Taking on this challenge was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it was the best decision I could have made. My ankles are very sore, but I feel fantastic finally reaching the finish line. I learned so much about myself on this journey, I am tougher than I think and that I need to nurture my fighting spirit,” says Leilani.

The challenge, which covered four provinces and took over 3 645 hours to complete, was supported by more than 300 individuals (some rape survivors), of all ages


One of the stand-out moments came on Day 22 in Nelspruit. The prefects from Hoërskool Bergvlam and Lowveld High School joined the walk and the entire town came out in support. “I cried tears of joy. It was so emotional. The support was incredible,” continued Leilani.

“Throughout this journey, I never could have expected the amount of support I received. I was so incredibly fortunate to be joined by so many compassionate individuals who supported me every step of the way, shared their stories and this life-changing experience with me. I am so happy that I could give others hope and create a safe space for people to reach out and confront this ‘taboo’ topic,” says Leilani.

Leilani was also fortunate to meet and walk with Bruce Fordyce, best known for having won the South African Comrades Marathon a record nine times. Lending his support, he told Leilani not to give up and that she must finish what she started.

Crowdfunding on BackaBuddy

With her campaign launched on donation-based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy, on 14 August, Leilani raised a total of R237 110,00 with contributions from 109 donors.

Funds raised will be used to purchase emergency comfort packs to be given to young girls when they report sexual assault and go through the process of telling their stories. Additional funds will be used to help as many women as possible who are in need of rehabilitation and counselling.

“Not one morning did I wake up and think I can’t do this anymore. I knew what I was doing was important and that I was making a meaningful difference. I hope the public will continue to support my crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy so we can touch as many lives as possible,” says Leilani.

What is next for Leilani?

A documentary called Born to an Audience about her life story and the 729km challenge is currently in production. A book about this entire journey will also follow in due course.


Pictured above: A life-long friendship formed. Camera man, Gerhard Botes (66) joined Leilani every day of the journey, recording every special moment for an upcoming documentary, where Leilani will share her life story, called Born to an Audience.

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SAPS Emergency Services 10111
Toll-free Crime Stop number 086 00 10111
GBV Command Centre Contact the 24-hour Gender Based Violence Command Centre toll-free number 0800 428 428 to report abuse
STOP Gender Violence Helpline Tel: 0800 150 150/ *120*7867#
South African Police Service Report all cases of rape, sexual assault or any form of violence to a local police station or call the toll-free Crime Stop number: 086 00 10111
Legal Aid South Africa Call the toll-free Legal Aid Advice Line 0800110 110 for free legal aid if you cannot afford one
Commission for Gender Equality Report Gender Discrimination and Abuse: 0800 007 709
South African Human Rights Commission Call 011 877 3600 to lodge a complaint about human rights violations.
Domestic violence Helpline Stop Women Abuse: 0800 150 150
AIDS Helpline 0800 012 322
The Warrior Project FREE legal helpline for victims of domestic abuse: 0860 333 353
People Opposed to Woman Abuse(Powa) http://www.powa.co.za, Tel: 011 642 4345
Child Welfare South Africa http://childwelfaresa.org.za/, Tel: 074 080 8315
Childline South Africa http://www.childlinesa.org.za/, Tel: 0800 055 555
Families South Africa (Famsa) http://www.famsaorg.mzansiitsolutions.co.za/, Tel: 011 975 7106/7
Tears Foundation http://www.tears.co.za/, Free SMS helpline: *134*7355#, Tel: 010 590 5920
The Trauma Centre http://www.trauma.org.za/, Tel: 021 465 7373
Thuthuzela Care Centres http://isssasa.org.za/