Forest High in Turffontein where Daniel Bakwela was fatally stabbed and two other learners were injured this week. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)
There has been a lot of talk this week following the fatal stabbing of Daniel Bakwela at Johannesburg’s Forest High School.

His death is a tragedy, but no less a tragedy than the circumstances that led up to it - and continue to do so.

After something as appalling as what happened on Monday, we tend to focus on the immediate to the detriment of everything else.

When we do, our responses become predictable; scapegoats and easy wins, like calling for the reinstitution of corporal punishment.

We are already a violent society; we have been for the last 350 years. We need to address that and the contempt for others that together run through our DNA across class, creed and colour, manifesting themselves in our disgraceful violence against women and children and our scandalous record on sexual assault - without ignoring what often seems like a spiralling murder rate.

We have to address the fact that our legal system often fails victims because the police can’t do proper investigations or prosecutors are unable to prove their cases. We have to address the fact that the learned experience for many youths is a toxic mix of broken homes and violence.

The village needs to raise the child: Teachers need to teach, parents need to parent, if neither or both fail to do that - for whatever reason - children will not be disciplined. They need role models, they need structure.

There doesn’t appear to have been either at Forest High.

The sad truth of Monday’s tragedy is that until we begin to address the problem that besets us as a nation, holistically and consistently, other children will still be bullied, some will be stabbed to death, other children will be filmed performing sexual favours in class, some will cheat, others will steal.

Sparing the rod doesn’t spoil the child - neglect, by all of us, does.

Saturday Star