Molopyane was talented and much loved, despite school bullies

Kelebogile Molopyane
Kelebogile Molopyane
Image: Yoliswa Sobuwa

Kelebogile Molopyane had asked his friend, Irvine Thamane, to never leave him as he sometimes felt lonely because of his sickness. 

This was shared by Thamane during the memorial service of  Molopyane, 16,  which is currently underway at Ferndale High School in Randburg. 

On Monday, the grade 10 pupil jumped from the second floor balcony of his school during epileptic seizures. He was rushed to a nearby hospital after being attended on the scene. Unfortunately, Molopyane succumbed to his injuries.

"We met when we were both in grade 8 and we have been together ever since. I remember when he told me about his sickness. He said I should never leave him as he sometimes felt lonely.

"From then I would carry his bags when he was not feeling well. I would also fight for him when other learners were making fun of him. We shared so many memories and we would cry on each other's shoulders. We were not just friends but [more] like brothers," Thamane said.

"Rest in peace my friend, and may God give you so many years in heaven." 

More than 20 of his family members have attended the memorial service joined by Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

 His class teacher, introduced as V Malevu, described "Kele", as he was known among his peers, as someone with an amazing sense of gratitude.

"His name meant 'I'm grateful' and it is surprising how people follow their names. Kele loved his life with an amazing sense of gratitude; please and thank you were the essence of his speech. I had a privilege to be his class teacher and he was truly extraordinary person who was full of life. He embodied the values of the school. He was a wonderful learner but to me he was my son," Malevu said.

He added that  Molopyane fought the epileptic seizure with every ounce of his strength. "There was such hope in his eyes; he had passion and love for everything he did. He achieved impressive marks in his school work. He loved technology, maths, robotics, soccer, music and art. He had multiple talents and fittings. I had hoped to see him accomplish greatness but it wasnt meant to be."

Malevu shared that Molopyane was the third learner to pass on in his seven years at the school. 

"His tragic passing has united the school. It is like he is reaching from beyond to make us better people."

Lesufi said he finds himself pursuading learners to accept death.

"Here am I my dear teachers pursuading you to comfort our learners to accept death and we know death can't be normal. We can't find our selves teaching our children how to write an obituary rather than writing a poem. I am confronted with a difficult task to look in the eyes of Kelebogile's family to say I am sorry. I have run out of words on how to comfort families. I am emotionally drained and empty," he said. 

Lesufi added that since the beginning of the 2020 academic year there had been 14 pupils and four teachers who had passed away.