After fatal stabbing, parents demand end to 'bombing' tradition at school

Parents have called for an end to a school-leaving ritual which turned violent this week, leaving a teen dead.
Parents have called for an end to a school-leaving ritual which turned violent this week, leaving a teen dead.
Image: Nompendulo Ngubane for GroundUp

Parents and the community of Eastwood in Pietermaritzburg are urging the KwaZulu-Natal education department to deploy extra security at Eastwood Secondary School.

The call comes after grade 11 pupil Hershel Fynn was stabbed to death outside the school gate on Tuesday.

According to pupils, the 18-year-old was killed after he confronted another pupil over the stabbing of a girl on Monday with a pair of scissors.

The school was shut down on Wednesday after the incident. Later that day, education MEC Kwazi Mshengu met people from the community and promised parents that security would be tightened at the school.

Pupils told GroundUp that the attack was sparked by a "bombing ritual".

The ritual happens before matric pupils write exams. Pupils fill condoms with water, paint, hair remover and even human waste to pelt teachers and other pupils.

One pupil, Kaylum Willard, a friend of the deceased, said, "The bombing game has been in school for long … from years ago. This year on Monday the bombing was so bad that one boy stabbed a girl with a pair of scissors, twice to the stomach."

He said she was still in hospital.

"On Tuesday a fight broke out in school with the coloureds and black learners. Each year in Eastwood secondary the coloureds and Zulus fight in school. We are used to this," said Willard.

He described Fynn as "a good person and he was never part of the game [bombing]".

"I will always remember him," he said.

Another girl said, "Fights have become normal. The school is not a safe place anymore. We are exposed to bullying."

An angry parent, Mbali Mchunu, said: "What is the use of employing security guards who don’t intervene when learners are attacked or fighting? Why are they there if they fail to do their job?"

Another parent, Judy Maharaj, said, "Every year around this time the community runs around like headless chickens to help the school due to bombing. I’m urging the MEC and the department to put their heads together in a way for us to combat this game."

Mshengu said he would speak to the MEC for community safety about police visibility in Eastwood. "Those learners who were supposed to write their first exam were taken to another school to write their exams. Twenty-six learners who were writing their Computer Application Technology [paper] wrote their exam in another school."

GroundUp has been unable to get police comment.


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