Jessica Mnguni from Pimville, Soweto, blamed Vorentoe High School for the loss of her child, claiming they failed to deal with the maths teacher who, according to a suicide note, constantly made her daughter Nicole “feel down and small”.
In a letter dated September 16, 2018 and discovered at her home after she committed suicide last Tuesday, Nicole stated her fear of school: “I mostly fear going to mathematics class, afraid of what will my teacher Ms Ollier say or do to me to make me hate myself more than I already do.”
Nicole described her pain, saying the teacher didn’t like her “so much that every day in her class, I don’t leave without her having to say something to me to make me feel down and small”.
Her mother has vowed to ensure that justice is served.
“This is how I am crying for my child. This how I am grieving. I can’t sit around and cry and not talk. I want to talk so that history doesn’t repeat itself, not only here in Gauteng, but all over the country, because I guarantee you there are more learners who are being depressed in silence,” said Mnguni, adding that Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi needed to come to see her in person because she had a lot to reveal to him.
The single mother, originally from Zimbabwe, alleged that the school mocked her pain by disregarding her, not offering any emotional support or taking accountability.
The school principal declined to comment on the allegations and referred questions to the department. Several attempts to get comment from the department were unsuccessful.
“I’m a parent who has lost a child. Why is the school not taking this matter seriously? The only time they made any attempt to contact us was after her passing. The principal called me and tried to intimidate me. He asked why didn’t I come tell him about the death of my child and why didn’t I bring the letter to the school as per protocol?
“But why must I stand up and go to them when I am in so much pain?”
The school allegedly arranged a memorial service without informing the family, which Mnguni felt was rude. In a telephone conversation that The Sunday Independent heard, Mnguni asked why the school was making arrangements without her knowledge and the principal, Hans Saestad, ignored her and said he would see her at the memorial.
“What right do they have to tell me about my own daughter? This is mockery and intimidation on another level. I am being stressed and depressed.
“They want to kill me as well. Is it because I’m black and come from Zimbabwe?”
Mnguni also lamented the heavy burden of preparing for the burial.
The family had to bring their eldest representative to South Africa to perform the necessary rituals and will spend R42 000 to take the dead girl’s body to Zimbabwe.