Shivek Mahadeo Poran, who lived with his grandmother in the farming community of Crowders, was healthy and active, despite being a little chubby, they said.
He was found unresponsive on the toilet on Monday last week when his grandmother, who had become worried that he was so quiet, broke down the door.
The post-mortem report noted acid reflux and respiratory failure as factors possibly causing Shivek’s death.
His uncle, Sham Poran, said Shivek, who loved playing soccer, was a Grade 7 pupil at Naidoo Memorial Primary School.
“Shivek lived with his granny. On that day, he came home from school, ran from the car and, as usual, screamed: ‘Aaji, what did you cook?’ She jokingly responded ‘nothing’.
“He then went to change and dug into the pots. He loved chicken curry but on that day they were fasting, so his granny prepared beans curry.
“Shivek dished out his food and ate, while chatting to his grandmother,” said Poran. “Minutes after eating, he told her he needed to use the loo.”
Poran said the grandmother had become suspicious when she could not hear him in the toilet.
“Shivek usually took his (digital) tablet to the loo. When she didn’t hear anything, she started to worry and called out for him.
“She shouted a few times and when he failed to answer, she broke open the door, which he had locked. She found him sitting on the toilet, unresponsive and his neck was tilted back on the water tank.”
Poran said his grandmother had become hysterical and tried to wake him. “She was alone at home and called me. I was at the Wild Coast Sun at the time and all I could hear was her screaming and crying, saying she doesn’t know what happened to Shivek.
“I thought my nephew had forgotten to fetch him from school, so I contacted him but he said he had left Shivek at home.
“I told him something had happened and that he should go immediately and check.”
Poran said his nephew rushed to the home and then took Shivek to a local doctor.
“The doctor said it was too late. But my nephew refused to give up. He said Shivek’s body was still warm. He drove him to Kingsway Hospital and doctors tried to resuscitate him, but it was too late.”
Poran said Shivek’s grandmother – his legal guardian – was devastated. “He was her life and the light of the home. We celebrated his twelfth birthday on March 3.”
At Shivek’s funeral on Wednesday, some of his schoolmates and teachers came to say goodbye to him, as did members of the Rama Krishna Ashram, where Shivek had been actively involved.
“His funeral was evident of the life he lived. He loved people and was sociable, despite being so young.”
It is believed his parents are separated and that Shivek had been raised by his granny from a very young age.
Poran said despite Shivek being a “chubby child” he was active and had not experienced any health issues.
Speaking generally, Durban specialist physician Sudhir Mohan said it was “very rare” and “unlikely” for a person to die as a result of acid reflux.
“In a case of acid reflux, there is massive vomit and acidic contents of the stomach sometimes get into the lungs. But this can be treated.”