'Cruel teacher killed my girl' - Mom’s anguish over daughter’s suicide

Grade 11 pupil Nicole Mnguni took her own life to end what she claimed were months of humiliation by her maths teacher. /KABELO MOKOENA
Grade 11 pupil Nicole Mnguni took her own life to end what she claimed were months of humiliation by her maths teacher. /KABELO MOKOENA

A Soweto teenager who took her own life after she was allegedly bullied by her teacher wrote a heartbreaking letter months before her suicide.

Nicole Mnguni, 18, was found dead by her mother at their home on Tuesday after the grade 11 pupil suffered through months of humiliation allegedly at the hands of one of the teachers at Vorentoe high school.

The cause of her death is yet to be confirmed by a postmortem report.

In the handwritten letter dated September 16 , Nicole describes how unbearable her life had become.

"I mostly fear going to my maths class, afraid of what my maths teacher will say or do to me to make me hate myself more than I already do.

"She enjoys embarrassing and humiliating me in front of my classmates," Nicole wrote.

The teenager also stated that she was afraid to ask questions in class and felt sad most of the time.

"I just need her to be my teacher and treat me like everyone else," she wrote.

At the end of the letter, Nicole wrote about giving up on life and wanting to be with her late father.

"I can no longer take it anymore. All I want and need right now is peace and to be with my father because I am a waste of space in this life. I'm sorry," she concluded.

Speaking to Sowetan, Nicole's grief-stricken mother, Jessica Mnguni, 49, said she wanted the teacher removed from the school.

"Words cannot express how I feel. That so-called teacher has killed my daughter and she has killed this family," she said.

Mnguni, also a school teacher, said she knocked on the door upon arriving home from work on Tuesday but her daughter did not respond.

She tried the door and noticed that it was not locked. When she looked around the house for Nicole, she was shocked to find the teenager lying on the floor.

"She looked peaceful as if she was sleeping. I shook and tried to wake her up. I noticed there was blood coming out of her mouth. That's when I noticed that she was dead," Mnguni said.

On the day Nicole died, she posted a picture of herself on WhatsApp with the caption: "I want you to remember me wid [sic] this picture", written below the image.

Mnguni said she had gone to the school after noticing that her daughter was unhappy around. She also read the suicidal letter Nicole had written in September.

Mnguni also wrote a letter to the education department's district office in which she complained about the school's failure to handle the situation, adding that the maths teacher had been rude to her.

"I had never seen the so- called teacher before but on finding out that I'm Nicole's mother, she told me that my child was not working hard and she would not make it even in grade 12," she wrote.

Mnguni said her once bubbly daughter who loved art and cooking had lost her
self-esteem.

"Nicole was like a mother to me. She would sacrifice going to her friends to look after me. Now my child is gone because of a ruthless teacher,"
she said.

Mnguni called on the education department to remove the school's management and the teacher.

Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona said they were aware of the case.

Mabona said officials from the department were investigating the matter.

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