A grade 10 learner from Molamo-Hlapi Secondary School outside Hoedspruit in Limpopo has committed suicide following an alleged altercation with another learner.
Fifteen-year-old Pholoso Mthembi went home after school, where she committed suicide on Wednesday. There are reports that the Mthembi had been bullied.
Limpopo Education Department Spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene says a delegation from the department has been sent to Mthembi’s family.
“It is alleged that this happened after she quarreled with another learner after school. We are obviously deeply saddened by the incident and sent heartfelt condolences to the family friends and the entire school community. A delegation from the school has been sent to the family of the deceased for support and we are also working on providing psychosocial services for those who are affected.”
Spokesperson of the Social Development Department Witness Tiva says the Mthembi family is receiving counselling.
“This incident again puts in the spotlight the safety of children in our communities and it happened a few days before the start of this year’s Child Protection Week observation to be launched on the 29th of this month. Our social workers have started providing psychosocial support to the schooling community as well as the families and other affected parties.”
Other bullying / suicide incidents
In April last year, Lufuno Mavhunga, who was a learner at Mbilwi Secondary School outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo, committed suicide in April last year.
This after a video recording of her being assaulted by a fellow learner went viral on social media. The incident triggered public outcry about bullying in schools.
Speaking to SABC News in January this year, Lufuno’s father, Joseph Mavhunga, says the family has been struggling psychologically since the passing of his daughter.
“My wife and I still need psychological support, because it has been hard to accept the death of our daughter so that we can live a normal life again. We will also accept any help that the government can be able to help us, since no one is working, because we are living on a social grant. In terms of the young girl who bullied our daughter, we don’t know anything about her, neither did their family contact us, but we accepted that Lufuno is gone and nothing will change. Even if we could fight them, that will not bring Lufuno back. We won’t have a problem, even if they could come and sit down with us.”
In the report below, news of Lufuno Mavhunga’s suicide:
-Additional reporting by Pimani Baloyi