south africa rape
Protesters take to the streets after the rape of two toddlers in South Africa  Reuters

Primary school children in Cape Town, South Africa, have been found playing a new playground game called "Rape Rape", where boys chase girls then simulate a sexual attack.

Parents and teachers raised the alarm after children were discovered playing the game. The Western Cape Department of Education said it was outraged and has launched an investigation.

A principal at one of the primary schools where children were playing the game said boys and girls as young as 10 were participating, South Africa's Independent Online reported.

In the game, girls are given the chance to run away before boys start to chase them. Once caught, the girl would be pinned to the ground and the boy would simulate rape for up to 20 seconds. Once she had been "raped", the girl would be eliminated from the game. The game would end once the last girl had been "raped".

The principal said: "Rules of the game differ from school to school. Children do not understand the implications.

"The game desensitises them to rape, which can have dire consequences for society in the long run.

"In high schools, we are seeing at least one girl a week come in and complain that she has been sexually harassed. The reports are growing and sexual assaults are increasing. This game is worrying and can be extremely detrimental to society."

South Africa has extremely high levels of sexual assault. Statistics suggest someone gets raped every four minutes, with many cases also never reported to police.

Colleen Horswell, chairwoman of the Mitchells Plain Education Forum, said parents must be more proactive in educating children about rape: "Children act out what they see happening in society. It is the role of the parent to educate their children and teach them right from wrong. Now is the time that parents should step in and take responsibility to end this trend."

Reports of the rape game come as a young woman was raped and murdered in Tshing for being a lesbian.

Gift Makau, 18, was killed in a "corrective rape", where men attack gay women. She was strangled with a wire and shoelace after a water hose had been forced into her mouth. The suspected attacker is due to appear at Ventersdorp Magistrate's Court, according to Times Live.

Lucky Gaoraongwe, Makau's cousin, said: "She had never been abused or heckled in the community.

"She was a cool girl who was never violent. She enjoyed playing and refereeing soccer games in the neighbourhood. Her mother is not coping at all, but we're trying - and people have been supportive."