Cape Town - Paxton Fielies has become the face of a new anti-bullying campaign, after shockingly revealing she received death threats after she won Idols SA last year.
The 17-year-old from Bishop Lavis says she received “disturbing messages” on social media following her win.
“People would send me threatening messages that they would ruin my life and my career, and that I didn’t deserve to win, or to live,” she revealed yesterday at the launch of the Raise your Voice. Not your Phone campaign at Beacon Hill High School in Beacon Valley, Mitchells Plain.
This is the same school where three weeks ago, a 16-year-old girl was filmed beating up another girl.
Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, together with Paxton and radio and TV presenter Carl Waistie, introduced the campaign to over a thousand pupils in the school hall.
In the video, the teen is smacked and kicked but she doesn’t fight back. The fight is eventually broken up by a security guard and a schoolboy.
Her mother opened a case with police and the alleged bully appeared in court on August 2. The matter was remanded to October.
The girl told the Daily Voice she didn’t know why she was being attacked by her former friend, while the “bully” claimed the girl had “threatened to moer her” during a conversation she overheard with her friends, and she retaliated.
Both girls were suspended but the victim has since returned to school. Her attacker faces a disciplinary hearing and is not back at school yet.
Schafer, Paxton and Carl said they were all bullied as youngsters. Paxton said: “I received a lot of love and support and also weird messages and very rude and ugly messages. People judged me based on my appearance, or how I choose to live. At first I shrugged it off, I knew it would come. But the bigger I became, the more hate I received. I thought I could handle it, but I cried more than I did in my entire life.”
Carl said because he was short, he was often teased. “Being a shortie like me is tough. But there is a reason I look like a little troll, you are the first edition and last edition, you are the limited edition,” he said to loud applause and cheering.
Schäfer said as a young girl wearing brille she was not very popular. She reminded pupils that bullying videos shared online can never be erased.
“Why do people bully? Because you want to make yourself feel good and you want to make somebody else feel bad, so actually you’re a coward,” she said.
“I’m not sure if you realise once you put something on the internet, it is there forever.”
Principal Gregory Kannemeyer welcomed the campaign and said students are not allowed to have cellphones at school.