Stabbed teacher's family need time to heal

Family members during the funeral of Papiki Mokolobate who was laid to rest at Miga Cemetery in Ramatlabama, North West, on Saturday.
Family members during the funeral of Papiki Mokolobate who was laid to rest at Miga Cemetery in Ramatlabama, North West, on Saturday.
Image: Tiro Ramatlhatse

The family of Gadimang Mokolobate, the teacher who was stabbed to death at school, allegedly by a pupil, could not hide their anger during his funeral service at the weekend.

Popularly known as Papiki, Mokolobate died 12 days ago after the stabbing incident. He was a mathematics teacher at Ramotshere Secondary School in Dinokana outside Zeerust.

His funeral service was attended by pupils, different organisations and dignitaries like Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, Premier Job Mokgoro and North West University vice-chancellor Professor Dan Kgwadi.

Mourners broke into tears when Mokolobate's uncle Kenosi Sebigi asked the government and the ANC to do something about such crimes.

"Our hearts are torn apart about what happened in our family. We are unable to carry on or live with it, we are weak and do not have strength.

"We do not want to point fingers, we are not saying return corporal punishment, you are the ones who took that decision. I am not saying people must be hanged, but they are killing others."

The third in a family of five, Mokolobate was killed after allegedly clashing with the 17-year-old pupil after the teen jumped the queue while waiting to be served food in the school's feeding scheme.

His aunt Johanna Mmamutle said she almost collapsed when she received a call informing her that her nephew had died.

"When the principal called me, he took a deep breath and said there was nothing they could do. He said 'he has lost a lot of blood, there was nothing they could do, he is gone'."

She asked for justice to prevail. "We do not want what happened to Papiki to happen to other teachers. We don't harbour hate. We can't hate a child but we are not ready to speak to his family. Our wounds are still fresh, we are still bleeding, do not tempt us, let us heal first," she said.

North West MEC for education Sello Lehari said he did not believe in corporal punishment. "Two wrongs cannot make a right, bringing back corporal punishment will be like bringing more fights between learners and teachers. The best way is to educate our children to respect their teachers, starting from home."

SA Democratic Teachers Union chairperson Mxolisi Bomvana said schools were not safe. "It is true that teachers have to do their daily tasks under a cloud of fear, that if you reprimand learners, they might turn against you.

"If they don't do their work, they might fight you, it's a problem that I think emanates from society in general."

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