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

Justice for Lufuno: learner was let down by her school principal, says SAHRC

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Apr 15, 2021

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The principal of Mbilwa Secondary School in Limpopo, where Lufuno Mavhunga, 15, was bullied which led to her committing suicide, had let the grade 10 learner down, a South African Human Rights Commission prelimary report says.

“On the day of the incident, Lufuno and the school’s security guard had gone to report the case of bullying to the school principal’s office but he failed to attend to it,” said the region’s SAHRC spokesperson Victor Mavhidula.

“Instead, he told the security guard to return to his post and for Lufuno to return to class, even after she had told him about the threats made by the perpetrator.

“The child was crying, telling him she cannot return to class and that the bully would hit her, but he ignored her,” said the region’s SAHRC spokesperson Victor Mavhidula.

On Wednesday, the commission visited the school and spoke to the principal about the incident.

Mavhidula said the commission was disappointed by the principal’s response.

“Even after the incident, which was captured on video and went viral, he did not act. Lufuno went home with an injured eye. He did not attend to it. When she got home, she informed her brother who sent the principal a text message and he acted as if he did not know about the incident,” said Mavhidula.

On Monday, a video of the 15-year-old learner being attacked by a fellow learner while others watched and took videos, went viral and sparked fury among many.

The video shows Lufuno being confronted by another learner before they are interrupted by a learner who slaps her several times.

Defenceless, Lufuno does not fight back. Instead, she tries to reason with her attacker. In the background, other learners are heard mocking and cheering the perpetrator.

A second video of the same incident shows the two learners being separated by a male learner. Lufuno’s attacker lands some more slaps and pulls her hair before they are separated.

Mavhidula said the commission was concerned about the increase in bullying and violence at schools in the province.

He said the commission was visiting another school which had reported a similar incident, on Thursday.

“The Mbilwa school principal said that monthly they were required to compile a report about such incidents. But nothing is done by the Department of Education, about those incidents written about in the report,” said Mavhidula.

He said the commission was compiling a report that it would take to the Department of Education.

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