Boy, 7, found dead after bee attack
Thamsanqa Magubane, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg - A KwaZulu-Natal family is mourning the death of a 7-year-old boy who was found dead after being attacked by bees - but have been told he may have died of a broken neck rather than stings.
Simphiwe Mlaba and his friends were collecting honey over the weekend near France township when a swarm they disturbed gave chase.
His aunt, Velile Mlaba, said paramedics put his death down to a broken neck.
“He was not swollen and the paramedics said they believe that he had broken his neck,” she said.
“We are not sure whether it was the bees that killed him or he died as he tried to flee,” she added.
Simphiwe, a Grade 2 pupil at Slangspruit Primary School, was found dead in the field near his home on Sunday.
He and his friends had gone on their honey-gathering expedition the day before.
On Monday, his family, neighbours and close friends gathered at his home.
His clothes, a shirt and shorts, lay on a grass mat on the floor with a candle lit next to them - a sign that a child had died.
His aunt said the family had been left distraught by the loss of a child, so young and with so much potential.
Velile Mlaba said all his family knew was that he died after going to collect honey.
She said that when the bees attacked “all the kids fled and they apparently did not notice that Simphiwe had been left behind”.
“When his father came home from work he noticed that he was missing and he searched for him,” said the aunt.
“His friends and the neighbours had not seen him.
“When he could not find him the following day, he thought that he might have visited me, as he does from time to time.”
When Simphiwe was found, two bees were inside his shirt.
Velile Mlaba said no date had yet been set for the funeral as the family were struggling to raise the funds.
Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan confirmed the incident and said the police were investigating the circumstances.