I was also sjam­bokked. And me. Me too

CityPress - - News - SIZWE SAMA YENDE sizwe.yende@city­press.co.za

Pa­ballo Seane was so bru­tally sjam­bokked – al­legedly be­cause she did badly in a test – that she died in hos­pi­tal last week.

The 19-year-old ma­tric pupil from Bloem­fontein was a learner at the in­fa­mous Cefups Academy out­side Nel­spruit, Mpumalanga, a school known for its cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment.

Af­ter in­ter­view­ing pupils and teach­ers in sep­a­rate in­ves­ti­ga­tions, po­lice and ed­u­ca­tion officials con­firmed for the first time that Seane had been whipped.

Po­lice spokesper­son Selvy Mohlala said Seane and other pupils were al­legedly “as­saulted” for get­ting poor marks in a test.

Ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment spokesper­son Jasper Zwane con­firmed this, say­ing: “Some pupils were sjam­bokked on the day, but we can’t go into the de­tails of our in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port.”

Seane’s brother said his fam­ily had not known about the school’s rep­u­ta­tion for cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment.

“We got dif­fer­ent sto­ries from peo­ple, but the mat­ter is now in the hands of the po­lice and they will iden­tify the cor­rect story,” he said.

He said his sis­ter, who was new to the school and in­tended to study agri­cul­ture next year, never com­plained.

“We didn’t know about the school’s dark side. She never com­plained. We sent her there be­cause of the school’s good ma­tric re­sults.”

Cefups pupils took to Face­book this week to say the school’s “pres­i­dent”, Si­mon Mkhatshwa, told them Seane was sent to hos­pi­tal be­cause she had swal­lowed an­ti­sep­tic, but po­lice and ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties are wait­ing for a post­mortem re­port.

City Press has reg­u­larly pub­lished sto­ries of hor­rific as­saults at the school.

Last year, we re­ported on a 16-yearold boy who was sjam­bokked by two board­ing mas­ters for go­ing to a shop­ping mall with­out per­mis­sion.The boy sus­tained an eye in­jury in an ear­lier beat­ing at the school.

A teen aged 19 was beaten and ex­pelled in May last year and forced to hitch­hike 300km to his home.

Another boy was sjam­bokked and ex­pelled in June be­cause a fe­male school­mate had pho­to­graphs on her cam­era of boys and girls to­gether.

In April, City Press re­ported on the sen­tenc­ing of three board­ing mas­ters who as­saulted three teenagers while they were at the school to sup­port their cousin, Nothando Kenny, in a beauty pageant.

Kenny, one of the school’s head girls, told City Press she and the other head pupils were en­cour­aged to beat their peers and even in­sult teach­ers, cooks and con­struc­tion work­ers at the in­sti­tu­tion.

“As head girls, we were in­structed to beat up other girls and tie them to poles. Our toi­lets were not func­tion­ing and we were forced to use our hands to re­move s**t.

“Some­times we would be told to in­sult the cooks and any child who had failed a test,” she said.

Although it is not known what marks Seane got for her test, Kenny said pupils would be lashed for get­ting 70% or less for a test.

“It worked like this – if you got 70%, you would get 30 strokes of the sjam­bok, for 50% it was 50 strokes,” she said.

Another for­mer head girl, who asked not to be named, said she was sjam­bokked for fall­ing preg­nant. “I fell preg­nant in my ma­tric year. “The news reached a male teacher and he forced me to strip naked be­fore other girls. He beat me up and en­cour­aged them to abuse me.

“I was hu­mil­i­ated and am still trau­ma­tised to this day.

“I’m a law stu­dent and will get Cefups closed down one day,” she said.

Mkhatshwa did not re­spond to calls, text mes­sages or emails re­quest­ing com­ment.

“The school has ap­pointed a spokesper­son. I’ll give you con­tact de­tails,” Mkhatshwa said on Thurs­day. But no de­tails were sup­plied. Zwane said: “We found that cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment does hap­pen at the school and that is our con­cern.”

The de­part­ment gave Mkhatshwa 30 days to ex­plain why Cefups should not be closed down.

A med­i­cal doc­tor, who asked not to be named, said be­ing sjam­bokked could cer­tainly cause a girl to die. “Girls have more fat in their bod­ies. “What hap­pens is that the fat can break down dur­ing a beat­ing, get into the veins and clog them.”

He said the clots could then find their way into the lungs.

“This is called pul­monary em­bolism and can cause death.”

But Modibe Modiba, a past head boy, only had praise for the school.

“I was on the re­ceiv­ing end of pun­ish­ment, [but] I never went to hos­pi­tal or died. I’m grate­ful to Cefups and to be hon­est, [with­out the pun­ish­ment], I wouldn’t have fin­ished school and passed with dis­tinc­tion.”

Pa­ballo Seane

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.