SIPHOSETHU Mtikita of Viedgesville in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, took her own life because she could not face the humiliation of repeating a class.
Mtikita, 18, alleged that she was constantly harassed by a teacher and felt she could not take it any more. So she decided to end her life.
She swallowed weevil poison, and though she was rushed to hospital, she did not survive.
Mtikita was preparing to go to Grade 12 at the Zamukulungisa Secondary School in Qweqwe when a teacher apparently doubted her claim of having passed Grade 11.
"Last Tuesday at 8am Siphosethu stormed into the house and said she had come to fetch her report. She looked depressed and said a teacher wanted proof that she had indeed passed Grade 11," her aunt Siphokazi Madyibhi said.
"We were shocked because we had seen the report and she had passed. She was humiliated and embarrassed in front of her classmates, something that she could not bear," she said.
Madyibhi, 27, said they later heard from a neighbour that her niece had been taken to hospital by a taxi driver.
"My mother and I rushed to the hospital, where she was on a drip. We learnt that she had taken weevil poison," she said.
Mtikita told her family that she took the poison because she could not understand why she was told that she had passed and then later told that she had failed.
She told her family that she would rather die than face the embarrassment and humiliation of going back to Grade 11.
"The next day we received a message that she had passed away. We are hurt as the department (of education) has shown no remorse. I went to Zamukulungisa, where the principal denied any knowledge of the incident.
"He said Siphosethu had passed Grade 11 and called the teacher and threw the report at her," Madyibhi said.
Mtikita's mother, Nomfundo Madyibhi, 34, said they did not have money to bury her .
"There are seven of us in the house and no one is employed. We depend on our mother, who cooks food for Mabheleni Junior Secondary School pupils.
"I was counting on Siphosethu to finish her studies and start working. We do not know what to do about the funeral."
Department of education spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani would not comment for fear of offending the family. He said officials would visit the family and make an assessment.