'It's no big deal': initiation furore is a storm in a teacup, says schoolgirl victim

2012-03-17 00:00

ONE of two Ferrum High School pupils who ate baby food allegedly mixed with saliva as part of their initiation into the first netball team believes it’s all a storm in a teacup.

The 17-year-old girl does not share the view of her team-mate (18) who laid crimen injuria charges with police against a senior team-mate accused of leading the initiation.

The 18-year-old’s mother, Khosi Mbali, who is a Zulu teacher at the school, believes the incident was racially motivated and led a protest at the school earlier this week.

The issue has polarised the school along racial lines as the two alleged victims are black and the accused girl is white.

The other new member of the team, also white, was reportedly ill on the day in question.

Both of the initiates were called as witnesses yesterday at their senior team-mate’s disciplinary hearing at the Newcastle school.

Speaking to Weekend Witness, the 17-year-old played down the incident.

She said it was “no big deal” as “it’s something that is done to everyone joining the team”.

“I didn’t open a case against the suspected girl because I don’t have evidence of what they are alleging. I am waiting for the investigation at school to be finalised.”

She said another girl had warned her not to eat the baby food, but it was too late.

Her sister, Nomkhosi Zulu, said that while the family was worried about her, she was “okay”.

Mbali, whose daughter was also called as a witness yesterday, was not available for comment.

KwaZulu-Natal Education MEC Senzo Mchunu said racism was unacceptable in any form and warranted a comprehensive investigation.

The Reverend Nelson Sithole, manager of the Amajuba district who is handling the matter, said he could not release any information at this stage.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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