Teacher dies after winning race

2009-08-17 00:00

PUPILS at the Arthur Blaxall School cheered loudly when their teacher received his medal for the parents’ 75 metre race at their sports day on Saturday, but shortly afterwards he collapsed and died.

Principal Desmond Frank told The Witness yesterday the school was in a state of shock, after 48-year-old Pierrot Tshibangu’s sudden death, thought to be caused by an underlying cardiac problem.

Frank said Tshibangu was a fit man who played soccer. After the race he was fine, but then complained of chest pain. He refused to see a doctor.

“He seemed to be dazed, but collected his winner’s medal to applause from the children. He then became very weak and lay down. We realised something was wrong and took him to hospital in the school bus,” said Frank. But the teacher died on the way to Northdale Hospital.

Tshibangu was from the DRC, but moved to South Africa with his wife and daughter, who were living in Johannesburg. They were due to spend the Michaelmas holidays with him in Pietermaritzburg. Tshibangu told Frank how excited he was at the prospect of spending time with them.

Tshibangu was a trained engineer with a passion for teaching, said Frank. He had been with the school as a temporary teacher since January this year and taught Maths and Science.

“He told me recently that he was so proud of his 12-year-old daughter who had got 90% in a maths test,” said Frank.

Details of the funeral are still to be announced.

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