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Learner, 12, who committed suicide laid to rest

Sibusiso Mbatha laid to rest. Picture: Supplied

Sibusiso Mbatha laid to rest. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 29, 2023


Sibusiso Mbatha was laid to rest in a special send-off funeral at his home in Thokoza, Ekurhuleni, on Saturday.

Sibusiso, 12, who was a Grade 6 learner at Khehlekile Primary School tragically committed suicide on Monday last week after allegedly being bullied at school over his sexual orientation.

This morning (monday), Gauteng Education MEC Matome Chiloane will visit Khehlekile Primary School to present the independent law firm appointed to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of young Sibusiso.

Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said Chiloane will be presenting the independent law firm to the School Management Team and School Governing Body.

“Subsequently, the MEC will proceed to introduce the law firm to the Mbatha family,” Mabona said.

This incident is believed to have pushed Sibusiso to take his own life; however, the law firm will probe the matter for accountability.

Visiting the family last week, Chiloane said they were shattered by the incident, but assured the family that they would get to the bottom of it and action would be taken immediately after the outcome is known.

Family spokesperson Phindile Ndengezi said what happened to young Sibusiso is tragic h. However, the family said the victory by the Springboks happened on the same day as his funeral, symbolising that he was special and gave the team the strength to defeat New Zealand.

“Our special child, Sibusiso Mbatha, is resting in peace and he was sent off on the same day as the Springboks won the 2023 Rugby World Cup. And it was the day celebrating the LGBTQI community. We believe he was a blessing that gave the team the luck. Indeed he was special,” said Ndengezi.

It is alleged that a teacher told Sibusiso to leave his “gayism” outside the school premises when it was school time.

“All we want is justice for Sibusiso. The teacher who failed to protect our child when he was insulted about being gay must resign or be fired as soon as possible,” said Ndengezi.

According to her, Sibusiso had a quarrel with a fellow learner (name withheld).

“Sibusiso was insulted about being gay by a fellow learner. In intervening, the teacher told Sibusiso to leave his gay sexuality outside the school premises. This is discrimination and it hurt our child. This teacher does not deserve to be around children,” she said.

Ndengezi described Sibusiso as a very bubbly child with a big personality who had dreams of becoming a big-time celebrity the likes of which the country has never seen.

“Sibusiso used a skipping rope to commit suicide. A tenant discovered him while hanging from the roof. He was still alive. He was rushed to Phola Park Clinic, but he was declared dead. On his thigh, he had written that he was going to kill himself,” said Ndengezi.

* The SA Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) offers free counselling for learners and parents.

You can call Sadag to talk on behalf of a loved one, colleague or friend. Trained counsellors are there to help and refer you to local counsellors, facilities and support groups: 080 021 2223 (8am to 8pm) / 080 012 1314 (8pm to 8am) or SMS 31393.

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