‘Teacher paralysed me’

2016-03-31 06:00
 Siphokazi Tyalidikazi shows her hand, which suffered extensive nerve damage to her hand. With her is mother Nobantu, who says medical costs have escalated, the departement must take responsibility.  PHOTO:  Mandla MAHASHE

Siphokazi Tyalidikazi shows her hand, which suffered extensive nerve damage to her hand. With her is mother Nobantu, who says medical costs have escalated, the departement must take responsibility. PHOTO: Mandla MAHASHE

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Siphokazi Tyalidikazi led a perfectly normal life, helping her mother with household chores, playing with other girls in the street or doing whatever girls in her age took part in; until last year.

The then 13 years old Grade 6 learner at Nalíkamva Primary School neglected to do her school homework; suddenly, the world around her and her life changed for the worst.

Her teacher, livid with anger, took out a pipe and allegedly thwacked her on the palm of her right-hand, which she used to write with. Using the rod to punish errant children is illegal in South African schools , and all educators are supposedly aware of this ruling.

After the beating, by a Miss Fadana, all seemed well until after school. Once home, Siphokazi reported the pain in her hand and her mother rushed her to hospital. On arrival, it discovered that she had suffered nerve damage in her hand.

Even after operations, the hand cannot function properly as recovery is slow, and Siphokazi has had to re-route her functions to her southpaw, for someone born an orthodox.

He mother has lamented the extra burden visited on her on account of the corporal punishment.

Nobantu Tyalidikazi said she has had to wash, clothe and help feed her daughter, and the family has exhausted the medical aid.

“It is really unfair that we have to bear the brunt of the emotional and financial strain when the culprit and the department should be taking responsibility,” she said.

“Our child was injured while in the hands of the department, which failed to protect her from the teacher and they should pay,” she said.

“My child has never been the same.”

The mother said what made things even worse is that the staff and the School Governing Body turned against her, saying her child was problematic learner at the school.

“Miss Fadana turned from being a perpetrator to a victim. The SGB even went on to convince other parents that my daughter was a problem child,” she said. She has since laid criminal charges against the teacher.

Tyalidikazi said even though the teacher had initially apologised and made money available for the medical treatment, the family has exhausted its medical aid balance and has fallen into depth.

“Its painful because instead of making sure that my child is OK the SGB and teachers are trying to have her thrown out of the school and are staging protests against her,” she said. According to her, Miss Fadana will appear at the Blue Downs Magistrates Court on 11 April. The Department of Education had not replied by the time of going to print.

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