Don’t make Sna’s suicide a racist issue, urges uncle

2009-09-14 00:00

CHILDREN forced back tears as they sang farewell to one of their friend during his funeral service at the Sobantu Community Hall on Saturday morning.

Dressed in yellow and blue uniforms, members of the Scottsville Primary School Choir were joined by the friends of 13-year-old Scottsville Primary pupil, Phindokuhle Nduduzo Qulo, in honouring him in song before he was finally laid to rest.

This is the first time since the grade five pupil killed himself that the school spoke publicly about his death.

“Not a lot of people can say they have 1 000 children. I do have 1 000 children. Today I mourn the loss of one of those children,” said principal Bobby Nefdt as he addressed the large crowd.

It was alleged that the boy, known as Sna, killed himself over unhappiness at school.

Nefdt said Sna’s death left everyone at the school shattered. “He’s been a part of the Scottsville Primary family for only eight months, but the hole his death has left cannot be filled.”

He said Sna’s classmates were asked what they remembered most about him. “One said he was funny, one child said ‘he always made me laugh’, others said he loved to talk and that he loved soccer — all of his friends always wanted him on the team because he always scored the most goals.”

He also thanked Sna’s mother, Nolwazi Dlamini, for attending the memorial service they held last Friday.

Dlamini was too emotional to address the crowd and asked a family friend to read a note that she had written to her son. “You were more than my son,” she wrote. “You were a friend, a comforter, and a brother … Go well. I’ll see you in the morning.”

His grandmother and Marsha Steyn (the woman he boarded with on weekdays) broke down and had to be escorted out of the hall.

“My wife is absolutely shattered,” said Harry Steyn.

“This is a really sad day for us.”

Sna’s uncle, whose name was given in the programme as s M. Qulo, also spoke at the funeral. He said they’ve experienced death in the family before, but this particular time, it was “rather too much”.

“The pain is deep, sharp and excruciating for the death of a son,” he said.

“In the Zulu culture, he was my son.”

He said that given our recent past, it is not unreasonable to suspect racism as the cause of this death, but added that they must try not to make this death a racist issue.

“We’ve all experienced discrimination at school,” he said. “I went to a black school and I was bullied by a black teacher ... Educators are responsible for our children when they are at school.

“They must appreciate the gift and task of taking care of young souls ... Nduduzo’s is a wasted soul.”

The funeral was also attended by the MECs for Social Development and Education.

The Education Department, indicated that only when investigations are complete, will they issue a statement concerning the allegations.

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