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Pretoria - Two conflicting accounts have emerged about a vicious fight outside a Pretoria school last week during which knives, pangas and other weapons were drawn, landing four boys in hospital with injuries.
The fight, outside Langenhoven High, involved boys from the school and an external group of opponents.
“My cousins and I had gone to escort our cousin, a student there, home, to avoid assault by his regular bullies,” said one boy from Pretoria West involved in the incident.
Asking that his name not be used for fear of victimisation, the teenager said they had been attacked and assaulted by a group from the school as they waited.
“They ambushed us and started beating us up. When we fought back they produced knives and started stabbing and hitting us,” he said.
He had landed in hospital where doctors had to remove a sharp instrument embedded in his back, and he spoke to the Pretoria News with a bandaged head.
The boy claimed to have been fighting with a “gang leader” from the school, who he said had been bullying his cousin for months.
This boy, he claimed, hit him with a brick on the back of his head early during the scuffle.
“I threw him to the floor but he managed to overpower me because I was hurt.”
Pupils from the school allegedly descended on him and beat him up, until he was grabbed by some of the cousins he had arrived with, and they ran away.
He said he was carried when he got weak and others realised he had an object protruding from his shirt.
His parents were called and he was taken to Louis Pasteur Hospital, where was admitted, the back of his head stitched, the object in his back removed and several other injuries treated.
He claimed a gang existed within Langenhoven, which not only intimidated other students, but had earned a reputation of being ruthless across the city. “They are involved in fights with other gangs regularly,” he said.
His mother believes gangs are at the root of the problem, and blames Langenhoven administrators for ignoring repeated reports of her nephew’s bullying.
She said the issue is bigger than the two groups and should not be ignored by parents, teachers and the community. Children were living in fear of a revenge attack, she said.
But, on Sunday, the boy, who is accused of instigating Wednesday’s attack, denied the allegations, and said: “I cannot say for sure why they attacked me, but I am no bully.”
He was rushed to hospital after his ear was cut with a panga in the fight. “The boys followed us from the gate, and before we knew it they held an axe and a knife, and they started attacking us.”
Speaking from his home in Soshanguve on Sunday, the Grade 12 said he had rushed to hold the arm of one of the boys to avoid being hit when he saw a knife being produced by another boy.
“I moved, with my attacker, out of harm’s way, but found myself held in a vice grip from behind.”
He grabbed a brick to hit the boy’s hands and to free himself, but more weapons appeared as more boys joined in the fight, he said.
He says he fell to the ground several times and managed to rise and defend himself.
“I was injured and bleeding when my friends removed me and put me in a taxi.”
He said he was dizzy and couldn’t see when his friends, at the instruction of his parents, took him to Akasia Hospital.
On Sunday, he had plasters on his ear and stitches on a stab wound behind the ear. He also had wounds visible on his neck.
His eyes and lips were swollen from where he said he was punched.
“I didn’t recognise any of the boys. I don’t even know how many there were,” he said.
He said he also had no idea from which school they had come.
Both boys acknowledged that they were lucky to be alive, saying the fight had been bloody, vicious and extremely dangerous.
He explained that as a member of the school’s “security” he was tasked with checking other pupils for drugs and other stuff, a job that makes them extremely unpopular.
The Langenhoven boy’s father is upset that the school has done nothing to assure him of the safety of his son. He said his son would not be going back, but must be allowed to write his matric elsewhere.
Members of the Education Department arrived at the school on Friday. They said they were trying to stabilise the situation. Police were also visible on Friday.