A pupil was stabbed to death and three others injured at a Cape Town school on Tuesday during an alleged gang fight at Beauvallon Secondary School in Valhalla Park.
The Grade 9 pupil, Raylynn Fortuin, 16, died on the scene, clutching his grandmother’s hand.
Police confirmed the incident which occurred on the school’s premises during break when another pupil wearing casual clothes is believed to have jumped over the school’s fencing.
Police spokesperson Andre Traut said a 16-year-old suspect had since been arrested. “Police are still searching for two other suspects who managed to escape arrest,” he said.
“Three other children also around 16 years old were injured during the scuffle, but two fled ... and another was treated on the scene,” he said.
When the Cape Times visited the school, several pupils could be seen standing outside the school building. The principal, however, refused to speak to the media and referred all queries to the Western Cape Education Department.
Department spokesperson Bronagh Casey said Fortuin was stabbed in the school quad during break time at 10.30am, allegedly by another pupil in Grade 10 who attended the same school.
Meanwhile, at Fortuin’s home nearby, his maternal grandmother Valerie Williams sat forlornly in the lounge, clutching a picture of her grandson. She was the last person to see him alive when she rushed from her home to the school upon hearing the news.
“I was at home doing the washing when one of his teachers came to call me and told me that he was stabbed at school. When I got to the school, all the children were still there making a noise and standing around. The police and the ambulance just came as he was lying there.
“I spoke to him and asked him to squeeze my hand and he did,” said an emotional Williams, adding that her grandson had died moments later.
She broke down as she looked at Fortuin’s photograph.
“It is very stressful and emotional for us. We are not okay. Especially my daughter. She is not taking the news well now,” she said.
Elsewhere in the house, Fortuin’s mother, Tasniem Tonta, could be heard sobbing through the bedroom window as Williams explained that her daughter (Tonta) was traumatised by her son’s death. Fortuin was the second eldest of three children.
“His mother was at the day hospital at the time, so by the time she arrived at the school,he was already gone. At least I got to talk to him but she didn’t,” Williams said.
Family and friends arrived at the house to convey their condolences and to offer support as funeral plans were arranged. She said the family was sent for counselling at the school, but feared Fortuin’s mother would need several sessions.
“He was a very cheerful and playful boy, always making me laugh. It’s difficult for me to think that he won’t be there any more,” she said.
Irene Andersen who lives in Agste Laan informal settlement, opposite the school, said she ran outside after hearing a lot of noise as there had been a fight at the school the day before. “I saw a group of young boys jumping over the school’s fencing. The guys were shouting and throwing stones, so we couldn’t see what was happening inside the school,” she said.
Andersen said gang fights were common in the area, but this was the first school murder.
Casey said officials had organised counselling and debriefing by department psychologists for the family and the pupils. - Cape Times