Lufuno Mavhunga suicide: ANC Youth League, Cosas protest at Department of Basic Education
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The regional ANC Youth League alongside the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) have taken the plight of Limpopo learner Lufuno Mavhunga and mental illness to the doorstep of the Department of Basic Education.
Lindokuhle Xulu, an ANC youth league activist, said they came to demonstrate outside the department to demand justice for Mavhunga and propel the department towards the implementation of the integrated school health programme.
The 15-year-old learner from Mbilwi Secondary School in Thohoyandou, Limpopo committed suicide following the release of video footage of the learner being bullied and beaten by a fellow learner.
Xulu said the implementation of such programmes in public schools was important as it spoke to the mental health needs of learners.
He said they believed if public schools in the country had interventions to address mental wellness, as was the case with private schools then learners would not end up going through what Mavhunga had to endure with no action.
“If this child was in a white school she would not have died as those schools have all the infrastructure that speaks to mental wellness and psychological interventions.”
Xulu said even though the department had a policy in place in collaboration with Social Development and Health, they however lacked the ability to implement it.
“We are here to demand the implementation of the policy and emphasise that mental health needs to be its core focus and many more teenagers are dying and committing suicide.”
“Teenagers are going through serious transitions and need to be mentally monitored from time to time and we can’t always blame the parents as the children spend a lot of hours at schools.”