I have lived a life filled with loss and grief. My parents’ deaths were never sudden. They were a buildup from illnesses, so amid the pain of losing both of them as a young child, I had no one to blame for it.
No one was responsible for their deaths.
For Enoch Mpianza, the young Parktown High schoolboy that drowned on the watch of his school and the management of the Nyathi Bush and River Break Resort, the family has plenty to blame. The negligence of two parties led to the sudden death of a life short-lived.
This was to be the beginning for him and his family, and this orientation camp would mark an introduction to an exciting high school career. Little did he and his family know that between mismanaged roll calls, the lack of life jackets, and sheer ignorance, it would mark the end of his life.
The forensic report into the 13-year-old’s death was damming enough to warrant the dismissal of the school principal.
Enoch drowned in the Crocodile River on 15 January 2020. The report’s findings were released (although not fully) in March this year.
So, it took the department and the school seven months to process all the findings and reach a conclusion to hold the principal ‘accountable’ for sloppiness. He was found guilty for authorising the camps without prior approval and not ensuring the proper roll call was conducted. He was, however, not found guilty endangering the lives of his students.
So, he stops working, and Enoch stays dead.
I cripple at the thought of losing a child, whether in utero or not. After you have known, loved, and raised them for 13 years, you have come to know a kind of love only a parent can know.
And when the source of your unconditional love is swept away by a river, and his dead body recovered, and no one claims responsibility, grief will not allow you to see past that.
This is why the school’s decision to dismiss the principal is not moving the family at all.
Because their son is still dead.
And, according to the laws of this land, people need to be held accountable if someone’s life ends on their watch. This is what courts are for, and ultimately, prisons.
But, to this day, no one is in court, and no one is in prison.
Will this bring Enoch back? Of course not.
Will it bring comfort to the family? I am in no position to answer this as he was not my child.
LM Bujold once said: “The dead cannot cry out for justice. It is the duty of the living to do so for them.”
One family cannot grieve a life while another grieves a loss of income. This is not justice.
The fact that he was allowed back at work after the probe was concluded five months ago is questionable enough. A boy died, his family is in pain, and they need the law to take its place.
It should take its place fully.
Karabo Mokoena is a wife, a girl mom, a writer and content creator. She is the Resident Contributor for Parenty and a Mommy Blogger, creating relatable parenting content for her blog Black Mom Chronicles. You can engage with her on her Instagram and Facebook pages. She is a Political Science graduate, who has worked in Human Resources for most of her professional career. She loves engaging with people, thus her choice to specialise in recruitment. She loves telling stories and sharing her life’s journey to brighten someone else’s day.