Durban - A playground fight ended fatally on Tuesday when a teenager died and another was left fighting for his life.
Khanyisani Mnqayi, 15, a Grade 9 pupil from a Wentworth high school, was stabbed by a fellow pupil during break, shortly before the two boys were to write an exam. He died in hospital a few hours later.
The other boy, who pupils said Khanyisani stabbed, was in a critical condition in hospital. He cannot be named as he has not appeared in court.
Apparently, the youths had had a heated exchange, which escalated into a fist fight.
Residents living close to the school said the fight was related to gang activity in the area.
One man, who was in a gang, told The Mercury that pupils were joining gangs when they were very young.
“I waited until I finished school. It is really worrying to see these lighties [children] dying like this,” he said.
Khanyisani’s classmates said they were shocked and felt unsafe.
“We were about to write Arts and Culture… All the pupils ran to other parts of the school when Mnqayi went down… Even our class teacher broke down after she handed us our exam papers and she made us pray for him before we wrote,” said a girl.
The principal was not available for comment, but staff said the situation was tense.
Elizabeth Barnes, Khanyisani’s grandmother, wept when she heard the news of his death. Her loss was “indescribable”, she said, adding that the suspect had sent a group of his friends to her home three weeks ago.
“They were looking for Khanyisani and I told them to go away. He was stabbed on his thumb last month at the school. I complained, but it fell on deaf ears,” she said.
She lashed out at the school saying pupils should have been searched for weapons.
Police spokesman Vincent Mdunge confirmed a case of murder had been opened and that a boy had been arrested.
Ward councillor Aubrey Snyman said: “We have a problem with violence… We have had numerous meetings… to… find solutions to this issue.”
Education spokesman Muzi Mahlambi extended his condolences to both families. “We do not know what to do any more because pupils are told not to bring weapons to school.”