Poverty and hunger driving high incidence of bullying in Limpopo: NGO

Suthentira Govender Senior reporter
World Vision SA has found that bullying is more prevalent in provinces like Limpopo. Stock photo.
World Vision SA has found that bullying is more prevalent in provinces like Limpopo. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF

As SA observes Child Protection Week, non-governmental organisation World Vision SA has revealed that the incidence of bullying in Limpopo is higher than that of other provinces it works in. 

Moruti Pitso, child protection and advocacy manager for World Vision SA, told TimesLIVE that bullying in Limpopo “is driven by severe poverty and inequality in the area”.

“The poorest children are the ones bullying the more privileged children because they would also like to have material belongings, lunch boxes and so on.

“Cyberbullying is also prevalent because the more privileged children take pictures and circulate them on social media, making fun of those without,” said Pitso.

Two months ago, bullying at Limpopo schools came under the spotlight after grade 10 pupil Lufuno Mavhunga committed suicide.

An assault on Mavhunga, in which she was repeatedly slapped across the face, happened on the grounds of Mbilwi Secondary School in Limpopo, and footage appeared on social media. The girl accused of the assault has been charged criminally.

Pitso has found from his work in provinces like Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Free State that bullying is being driven by poverty.

“It’s driven by poverty, which makes learners vulnerable and abusive. Without food, children are most likely to be irritable and aggressive and release the frustration on others.”

World Vision SA has joined forces with basic education, health and social development departments as well as traditional leaders and school governing bodies to drive awareness campaigns in schools and communities.

“We also have an ongoing campaign called ‘It takes a world’. We’re relentlessly taking action to end violence against children — highlighting when it occurs, empowering young people to speak out and holding those responsible to account.

“In order to increase coverage and deepen impact, strengthening partnerships with key stakeholders on the ground is vital.”


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