Addressing mourners at Indi-phile Baninzi’s memorial service, held at Protea South Community Hall, Ntombenhle Baninzi (no relation) recalled how she had watched him finish his lunch and thereafter join his schoolmates on the playing field that Tuesday.
“Seeing he had a lunchbox of a cooked meal, I encouraged him to finish it so he could be strong like me,” the emotional teacher said.
“He finished his lunch and immediately ran to the playground. I suddenly heard screaming and at this time I thought he had just turned a corner to the playground. I then saw a teacher crying and soon realised Indiphile was hurt,” Baninzi said.
The pupil was declared dead shortly after arrival at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital – and questions are being asked on how he ended up being caught by a lawnmower operated during a school break.
The teacher also shared her excitement of last month when she first met the five-year-old, who shares a name and surname with her own son. The two are not blood relatives.
“I saw that as a chance to receive unconditional love everyday at school. Every day I used to say ‘Indiphile Baninzi, you and I, mother and son’.
“He was always early and would wait for me to arrive to greet me with a hug every morning,” the teacher said.
“I looked forward to going to work because I knew he was waiting with a big hug,” she said.
The teacher went on to read out a poem she had put together for her pupil. This saw his mother, Andiswa Baninzi – who sat quietly listening to speaker after speaker – break into tears. His father, Sabelo Makeke, kept his composure as words of comfort flowed following the couple’s loss of their only child.
The pupil’s grandfather, Phin-dile Baninzi, applauded teachers for the support they gave his family after the February 11 accident.
“I did not think that there would be something (support) like this. I know there are no people in government faced with challenges more than those of teachers, but God lives… We must accept things as they happen,” he said.
Indiphile Baninzi had arrived in Gauteng last month to start school. His family will be taking him back to the Eastern Cape today where he is expected to be buried. – firstname.lastname@example.org