Eighteen teenage schoolgirls had to be rushed to hospital in Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape following an outbreak of mass “hysteria” that left a 16-year-old girl dead.
According to the Eastern Cape Department of Health, the girls were taken over by “hallucinations prompted by fear” shortly after learners lined up for classes at Bhekizizwe School in Nothintwa Village in Mqanduli on Thursday.
Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the hysteria in the girls appeared to have been caused by a “mystery illness”, and although incidents such as these were a common occurrence in the former Transkei, it was the first time someone had died as result.
Kupelo said that symptoms in the “mystery illness” included the girls having “visions” and “hearing voices”.
Following complete mayhem, the school was shut down for the day and all 520 learners sent home.
Speaking to the African News Agency (ANA), Principal Thembinkosi Tshemese said drama broke out when a Grade 8 student collapsed while learners were lining up for classes.
“She was unable to breath and was taken to a nearby clinic, but when she arrived nurses said she had passed away,” said Tshemese.
A distressed Tshemese described chaotic scenes and said 17 other pupils were rushed to a nearby clinic and some were transported to hospital in ambulances.
“The girls were crying hysterically, some of them, about 10 of them, had to be taken to hospital and put on drips.”
He also confirmed that the Deputy Principle, Pinky Mkwamba, was also affected by the “mysterious illness” and was currently on a drip in hospital.
– African News Agency