Pupils at Bhisho High School in the Eastern Cape are battling to come to terms with the death of a learner, who committed suicide after allegedly being bullied by fellow students.
They claim to have reported the matter to teachers who did nothing to stop the alleged perpetrators. Sixteen-year-old Lathitha Nako died in hospital last week after drinking pesticides.
Before her death, she spoke openly about the bullying she endured on social media platforms.
Learners picketing outside their school demanding justice for the late learner:
The circumstances surrounding Nako’s death sparked outrage from civil society and on social media. Emotions ran high as learners remembered Nako, her classmates say it is difficult to concentrate and study for their examinations in the wake of her death.
“Being in a class where she is not around anymore is traumatizing, we were not able to write and it was quite difficult. After being bullied she was a whole different person. She was closed off, she won’t want to speak about her feelings, she would cry most of the time.”
It was known at school that Nako had an ancestral calling. Her death highlighted the need for schools to enforce policies that accommodate all religious beliefs.
Local traditional healer, Veliswa Mpambani says, “When you have a calling, you cannot control the spirits that live inside of you. l think even the department going forward needs to recognise you’re dealing with different people, we are coming from a diverse belief system.”
Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Department of Education has called for calm, while it investigates the matter.
Chief Director at the Department Mbulelo Mpupu says, “This is a critical time when we are writing exams for our learners so we want to invite all of our people to keep calm and make sure that they support our learners so that they complete the academic year.”
Nako’s funeral service is expected to be held on Sunday.
Teen suicide in Eastern Cape again highlights the need to address bullying at schools: