Pictured above: Leilani Kuter
Pictured above: Leilani Kuter. Photos supplied.

This year, on the 28th commemoration of the traumatic sexual assault that left her for dead and changed her life forever, Leilani Kuter from Roodepoort, 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@43restaurant 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, BackaBuddy, with 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.

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 to my BackaBuddy campaign.”

WATCH as Leilani finishes her walk:

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.”

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

Day 1 – Danville

Pictured above: Leilani the self-proclaimed “Danville Diva” at the entrance of her hometown
Pictured above: Leilani with Sithole Nqobile

Day 2 – The Moot (Pretoria)

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

Day 3 – Middelburg

Pictured above: 84 km completed.
Pictured above: 112km done!

Day 4 – Vanderbiljpark

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

Day 5 – Vanderbiljlpark

Pictured above: Leilani with the Go Purple Foundation

Day 6 – The Cradle

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

Day 7 – Sunnyside

Pictured above: Leilani having a quick bite at Loftuspark.
Pictured above: 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

Pictured above: 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!
Pictured above: Leilani with Anita Joubert and Lee Pretorius who walked with her in Potchefstroom.
Pictured above: Leilani resting her legs after completing 224km.

  Day 9 – Dunkeld, Sandton

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

Day 10 – The Cradle

Pictured above: Leilani with cameraman and campaign confidant, Gerhard Botes.

Day 11 – The Cradle

Pictured above: Leilani with her friend, Nickey Seger.

Day 12 – Moreleta Park

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

Day 13 – Cullinan

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

Day 14 – Irene

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

Day 15 –  Maropeng

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

Day 16 – Krugersdorp

Pictured above: Leilani rests her feet after completing her emotional 448km journey
Pictured above: 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.
Pictured above: All smiles at the finish line! Well done, Leilani!

Walking to heal the wounds of her past

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

Pictured above: Leilani at age 21

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: