Mom irked by Fort Hare University's 'silence' after son dies on campus

The University of Fort Hare.
The University of Fort Hare.
Image: Rod Bally

An aggrieved mother is seeking answers following her son’s death at Fort Hare University on the Alice campus.  Nokrismesi Mkiva, 60,  only heard about the death of her son Sibahle Mkiva, 20, a first-year student at the institution, from friends.

She said her son went missing on Friday, and it was only on Sunday that she heard about it and by then it was already too late as he was no more. “I am heart-broken, I sent my son to school to give him a better future only for him to return in a body bag with no explanation from the university,”  Mkiva said.

She said according to Sibahle’s friends, they went to swim in the campus pool on Friday but he just disappeared, leaving behind his hoody and shoes.

“They did not think much of it at first but started worrying when he did not come back that night. His friends went back to the same pool on Saturday to look for him and there were other students who were already swimming. But my son was not there. His body was found on Sunday morning and he did not show any signs of drowning, instead he had bruises around his neck and chest, his nose had a cut and his mouth was swollen,” she said.

Mkiva  said the institution had not said anything to her, instead two men who were introduced to her  as  part of the institution's management gave her her son’s clothes, student card and wallet without saying anything.

“I don’t know whether I am disrespected or what because I am a single parent. I am still waiting for the university to tell me what happened to my son. If Sibahle was a girl people would be talking about her death, but because he is a boy people are quiet,” she said.

Police spokesperson Brig Tembinkosi Kinana confirmed that the incident happened over the weekend at Fort Hare University at night.

" He was last seen with his friends at the student centre next to the pool where he drowned. It is not clear as to what led to his drowning. We are investigating circumstances that led to his drowning. We have opened an inquest docket," Kinana said.

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