Johannesburg - Shocked Emisebeni Junior Primary School teachers have described as “warm, active and sensitive” a boy found in a dustbin at home after he had gone missing.
Mthokozisi Sibeko Mdanda was found sitting, face resting on his chest, in a dustbin - dead, his body decomposed.
When he was moved, the 12-year-old’s neck was loose, as if it had been broken.
A terrible smell from the garage at a Soweto home had led a father-of-three to make the gruesome discovery on Saturday.
Taxi driver Richard Sibeko had been anxiously searching for his son for nearly a week.
On Monday, yellow tape cordoned off the Sibekos’ four-room house in Elias Motsoaledi, Jabavu, in Soweto, attracting curious stares from neighbours and passers-by.
Also closed off from the scene were Mthokozisi’s family members, who stood watching as police officers descended on their property with sniffer dogs.
Police spokesman Kay Makhubela said: “That is part of the investigation.”
Simultaneously, a few streets away from the house at the junior primary school, shocked, devastated and saddened teachers sat in a classroom, trying to come to terms with Mthokozisi’s demise.
The teachers described their morning as a quiet one after hearing of the death of their pupil.
His teacher, who did not want to be named, said she had become aware of the child’s death after reading a newspaper article on Monday.
The shocked woman said she had immediately called the school principal and head of department to inform them about the news.
“I had hoped that the boy would return home safely after [the family] were informed that the boy had gone missing. But the newspaper confirmed everything [the death],” she said, adding that this was the first heartbreaking incident she had come across in her 30 years of teaching.
“We all had hope. What made us strong was the fact that the father hadn’t lost hope. After reporting the matter [to the police] on Monday, he said he would look [for him] at relatives’ homes,” she said.
The teacher added: “Like any child, he would play and tease others. But if you teased him, he would either cry, or report to me or hit them. He didn’t like it when he was teased, especially about his family. He was so sensitive.”
On Thursday, Mthokozisi failed to collect a certificate during the school’s prize-giving ceremony.
The Grade 4 boy had come out tops in social science.