'Where is my child?' - accident pupil's mom's anguish

2015-07-10 13:40
The scene of a horrific accident in Durban where a Lesotho pupil died. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

The scene of a horrific accident in Durban where a Lesotho pupil died. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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WATCH: Teacher describes how pupil died

2015-07-09 15:40

Kabelo Maqache, Deputy Principal of Molapo High School in Leribe, Lesotho has described the incident to News24's Amanda Khoza who was at the scene in the Durban CBD. Watch.WATCH

Durban - "Where is my child," were the only words a mother could utter on Thursday when she was told her teenage son had died a horrific death while on a school outing in Durban.

Not long after the news was conveyed to her, she had to be admitted to hospital to be treated for shock.

The 16-year-old Madiehe Letsoela died in front of his fellow pupils when his head hit a pole while he was leaning out the window of the bus they were travelling in.

On Thursday, Moses Phoole, the principal of Molapo High School, was the man tasked with breaking the news to the Letsoela family that their son would not be returning home from the school tour in South Africa.

Speaking from Lesotho, Phoole told News24 that he received a call from his deputy at around 13:15 on Thursday informing him of the tragedy.

“He told me that three quarters of his [Madiehe's ]head was cut off.”

‘She did not cry’

Phoole knew he had the responsibility of informing the teenager’s parents about the tragedy.
Immediately after the phone call he, together with the school governing body members, made their way to Letsoela family.

“When we told his father Morena the news he went cold, but he later accepted what had happened.
“But his mother, she kept asking us, ‘Where is my child?’. She did not cry. She hasn’t cried, not a single tear, it’s heartbreaking,” said Phoole.

News24 reported on Thursday that Madiehe, who was part of a group of 106 pupils from Molapo High School in Leribe, Lesotho, died tragically when his head hit a sign board on a street light pole on narrow Dick King Street off Anton Lembede Street [Smith Street] in Durban’s CBD.  

Deputy Principal Kabelo Maqache told News24 that Letsoela looked out of the window and hit an electric pole on the side of the road and died instantly.

The children, who arrived on Sunday, were on a week-long educational tour in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and were making their way back to Lesotho when the accident occurred.

Phoole said he met the children at the boarder when they arrived early on Friday morning.

The driver and four other pupils collapsed when they arrived and they have been admitted to hospital. The parents were waiting for the children at a church where they will be receiving further counselling.

Another pupil in a coma

He said he was not sure when Letsoela’s funeral would be held.

“We just need the child to be transferred home first, the funeral might be next week,” said Phoole.

Maqache, who is still in Durban, said the children left Durban at 22:00 because they were waiting for a pupil who was in a coma to be released.

“A pupil was admitted into hospital after seeing what happened. He collapsed and went into a coma. They released him late last night,” said Maqache.

He said the children were reunited with their parents when they arrived at 08:00.

“I am trying to get the body repatriated and I am told that it might take as long as a week. I am at the Lesotho embassy and the ambassador is helping us.

“I am going to go and identify his body and then I am heading back home. His parents have been notified of the accident.”

Maqache described Madiehe as a hard working pupil with a passion for acting.

“He was a very powerful actor. He was a member of the school’s drama class and Sunrise Theatre group in his community.”

Maqache said the children were deeply traumatised.

“When we parted ways yesterday (Thursday) they seemed better but they are still traumatised. When the accident happened we immediately removed them from the scene. I don’t think they know that he died [at the time],” said Maqache.

Letsoela’s father, Morena Letsoela, was too traumatised to comment.

Read more on:    durban  |  accidents

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