A number of learners at Senzangakhona Secondary School in Mandela Village, Mpumalanga, on Thursday cried out loud for their schoolmate Siyabonga Mabena, who was stabbed to death on the school’s premises allegedly by another learner following a fight.
Provincial police spokesman Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said 17-year-old Mabena, who was in grade nine, died at the KwaMhlanga Hospital after he was stabbed on Tuesday.
Tears, sounds of weeps, prayers and words of consolation characterised the morning assembly at the school near KwaMhlanga. Pastors preached and prayed while officials from the education department, parents and local politicians took turns and consoled the learners.
Manager of the KwaMhlanga circuit of the education department, Selaki Moema, appealed to the learners to be in full control of their lives.
“You have an opportunity to get yourselves ready for life,” said Moema.
“Please, take charge of your lives. You have to decide on how everything you do will end.”
Local ward councilor Boitumelo Malefo said learners ought to love and respect one another.
“If someone provokes you by trampling on your foot, tell him your foot got underneath his or hers by mistake. Do not fight against that person.”
Emotions ran high during the gathering and several distraught learners fainted and collapsed. They were taken into a class and treated by paramedics.
At the end of the assembly school’s principal, only identified as Mrs B T Mnguni, had to beg the learners to go to their classes after some of them shouted and said they wanted to go back to their homes.
Mabena’s oldest sister, Fikile Mabena described him as a quiet and friendly person. She appealed to the provincial education department to improve security in schools.
“All the learners must be searched when they enter the schools’ yards,” said Fikile.
Late on Thursday afternoon, Hlathi said Siyabonga’s alleged killer fled the scene after the incident and has not yet been arrested.
– African News Agency (ANA)