pupil hangs himself

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

Pupils ran amok yesterday after a Grade 9 pupil committed suicide following an argument with a teacher who insisted he was not ready for the next class.

The body of Clarence Mojela, 19, was found hanging from a tree in a bushy area at the foot of Moloko Mountain, in Steilop near Mokopane, yesterday morning after a search by classmates and members of the community.

Mojela, a pupil at Sewela Batho High School in Limpopo, insisted that he would not repeat Grade 9 again and walked into a Grade 10 class on Wednesday.

Family members got worried when he did not return home and a search for him began.

Family spokesman Selina Seanelo said a note found next to the body read: "The teacher who forced me to go back to Grade 9 is responsible for my death. The teacher might as well be responsible for my funeral."

The teacher, according to Seanelo, removed Mojela from the grade 10 class, telling him he had to repeat grade 9 because "you have not achieved".

"An argument ensued, resulting in the teacher slapping him," said Seanelo yesterday.

Pupils yesterday chased away teachers and principal Johanna Mokoka. They say the teacher did not have to slap Mojela. They want the education department to address the problem by Monday and are demanding the removal of the teacher and principal who allegedly assaulted another pupil last September.

Mojela's classmate Nkai Kobe, 15, said: "We want the principal and teacher to be relieved of their duties. We cannot afford to harbour bullfighters at our school. As teachers they know that corporal punishment is outlawed. We want them out today."

Limpopo education department spokesman Ndo Mangala said they were shocked Mojela took his life because he had failed. Mangala advised pupils not to take their lives. He said failing was not the end of the world.

"We have all failed at one stage but we did not claim our lives."