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Campaign launched to tackle bullying in SA schools

Lufuno Mavhungu, 15, died by suicide after allegedly overdosing on prescription pills after she was violently beaten by a fellow Grade 10 pupil on Monday at her Limpopo school. Picture: Screenshot

Lufuno Mavhungu, 15, died by suicide after allegedly overdosing on prescription pills after she was violently beaten by a fellow Grade 10 pupil on Monday at her Limpopo school. Picture: Screenshot

Published Apr 14, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - LOCAL NGO 1000 Women Trust has launched a campaign to provide teachers and parents with the skills to address bullying in South Africa.

The organisation has also confirmed that it sent councillors to Limpopo to assist schools with anti-bullying campaigns, said Tina Thiart, founding member of 1000 Women Trust.

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This was after a Grade 10 Limpopo pupil Lufuno Mavhungu, 15, died after she allegedly overdosed on prescription pills Monday.

She was assaulted by a fellow pupil at her Mbilwi Secondary School.

In a video of the incident, which has since gone viral on social media, Mavhungu is seen being repeatedly slapped while other pupils cheered on taking a video of the incident.

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Despite a video purportedly showing what looked like the aggressor being arrested by police on Tuesday, Limpopo police said no assault case had been opened against her and the Limpopo Department of Education was dealing with the incident at that level.

Education Minister Angie Motshekga visited the school on Wednesday.

Limpopo education spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene expressed her concern about an apparent increase in bullying incidents around the Limpopo province.

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“The department has also noted another recording of a physical altercation incident involving grade 12 female pupils from Nthuba High School making the rounds on social media. Details of this incident have been requested from the school principal and due disciplinary processes will be undertaken immediately,” Chuene said.

Thiart said 1000 Women Trust has launched an awareness and training campaign against bullying.

“We have compiled a toolkit which will provide the resources for teachers and parents to address bullying in all forms. It can be accessed on www.bullying.co.za.

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“There are also a range of values that parents can share with their school-going children in order to train them to be non-violent and respectful to girls. It can be accessed on www.maketime.org.za,” Thiart said.

“We also provide regular anti-bullying training to teachers and parents, which has been very popular. Since its inception, more than 3000 parents and teachers have received training. So far, in 2021, a total of 997 teachers and parents completed the training course of 1000 Women Trust.

Teachers who want to access training, can WhatsApp Thiart on 073 207 9079.

“We have also trained trauma councillors that visit schools to share the necessary skills with teachers on how to address bullying. As we speak, we have sent several of our trauma councillors to four schools in Limpopo to share important skills with teachers on anti-bullying mechanisms,” Thiart said.

The best deterrent to bullying and cyberbullying in schools was to create a culture of acceptance and communication, said Thiart.

“Tougher legislation is needed in South Africa when it comes to bullying and a formal stand against any form of bullying in the young or the old can bring awareness into the future that could influence the lowering of statistics of violence against women and girls in this country,” Thiart added.

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