‘Cruel teacher killed my girl’

Mom’s an­guish over daugh­ter’s sui­cide

Sowetan - - News - By Zoë Ma­hopo

A Soweto teenager who took her own life af­ter she was al­legedly bul­lied by her teacher wrote a heart­break­ing let­ter months be­fore her sui­cide. Nicole Mn­guni, 18, was found dead by her mother at their home on Tues­day af­ter the grade 11 pupil suf­fered through months of hu­mil­i­a­tion al­legedly at the hands of one of the teach­ers at Voren­toe high school.

The cause of her death is yet to be con­firmed by a post­mortem re­port.

In the hand­writ­ten let­ter dated Septem­ber 16 , Nicole de­scribes how un­bear­able her life had be­come.

“I mostly fear go­ing to my maths class, afraid of what my maths teacher will say or do to me to make me hate my­self more than I al­ready do. “She en­joys em­bar­rass­ing and hu­mil­i­at­ing me in front of my class­mates,” Nicole wrote. The teenager also stated that she was afraid to ask ques­tions in class and felt sad most of the time.

“I just need her to be my teacher and treat me like ev­ery­one else,” she wrote.

At the end of the let­ter, Nicole wrote about giv­ing up on life and want­ing to be with her late fa­ther.

“I can no longer take it any­more. All I want and need right now is peace and to be with my fa­ther be­cause I am a waste of space in this life. I’m sorry,” she con­cluded. Speak­ing to Sowe­tan, Nicole’s grief-stricken mother, Jes­sica Mn­guni, 49, said she wanted the teacher re­moved from the school. “Words can­not ex­press how I feel. That so-called teacher has killed my daugh­ter and she has killed this fam­ily,” she said.

Mn­guni, also a school teacher, said she knocked on the door upon ar­riv­ing home from work on Tues­day but her daugh­ter did not re­spond. She tried the door and no­ticed that it was not locked. When she looked around the house for Nicole, she was shocked to find the teenager ly­ing on the floor.

“She looked peace­ful as if she was sleep­ing. I shook and tried to wake her up. I no­ticed there was blood com­ing out of her mouth. That’s when I no­ticed that she was dead,” Mn­guni said.

On the day Nicole died, she posted a pic­ture of her­self on What­sApp with the cap­tion: “I want you to re­mem­ber me wid [sic] this pic­ture”, writ­ten be­low the image. Mn­guni said she had gone to the school af­ter notic­ing that her daugh­ter was un­happy around. She also read the sui­ci­dal let­ter Nicole had writ­ten in Septem­ber.

Mn­guni also wrote a let­ter to the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment’s dis­trict of­fice in which she com­plained about the school’s fail­ure to han­dle the sit­u­a­tion, adding that the maths teacher had been rude to her.

“I had never seen the so- called teacher be­fore but on find­ing out that I’m Nicole’s mother, she told me that my child was not work­ing hard and she would not make it even in grade 12,” she wrote. Mn­guni said her once bub­bly daugh­ter who loved art and cook­ing had lost her self-es­teem.

“Nicole was like a mother to me. She would sac­ri­fice go­ing to her friends to look af­ter me. Now my child is gone be­cause of a ruth­less teacher,” she said.

Mn­guni called on the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment to re­move the school’s man­age­ment and the teacher.

Gaut­eng ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment spokesper­son Steve Mabona said they were aware of the case.

Mabona said of­fi­cials from the depart­ment were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter.

‘ ‘ She looked peace­ful as if she was sleep­ing. I tried to wake her up

/KA­BELO MOKOENA

Grade 11 pupil Nicole Mn­guni took her own life to en d what she claimed were months of hu­mil­i­a­tion by her maths teacher.

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