Shock as matric pupil found dead

2018-11-02 06:01
Eighteen-year-old Tlhokomelo Lebapla was believed to have been happy and doing well at school. PHOTO: supplied

Eighteen-year-old Tlhokomelo Lebapla was believed to have been happy and doing well at school. PHOTO: supplied

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THE family of 18-year-old Tlhokomelo Lebapla were left shocked and confused after the matriculant’s body was found hanging in the garage at his home in Maluti on Tuesday morning. It is suspected that Tlhokomelo committed suicide however no suicide note has been found.

Tlhokomelo’s uncle, Kgethisa Ramotsamai, said he was set to begin writing his matric exams on Thursday, October 25 at local independent school, St Monica’s, in Matatiele.

“He was staying with his father and siblings at home. He looked happy and had no visible signs of depression. He was found hanged inside the garage,” said Ramotsamai. He also said that last week the young student had come home with an award for outstanding performance at school.

Tlhokomelo was said to be “a good boy” who was doing well at school.

Department of Education Alfred Nzo West District Director Lungelo Mthatyana confirmed the incident and said pupils have received motivational support to cope with the pressure of writing exams. He said the department has distributed booklets to schools with guidelines on how to deal with exam pressure.

“Matric exams have started well in the district and we feel sad about the passing of Tlhokomelo,” he said.

The district has 8 173 matrics who are sitting for their final exams.

SAPS spokesman Captain Raphael Motloung confirmed the inquest docket which is being investigated by SAPS. He asked parents to give children support in this time of writing their final exams.

Every September National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month takes place whereby organisations and individuals raise awareness about suicide.

Liziwe Ntshengulana, who is a life coach, author and inspirational speaker in Matatiele, has called on teachers and parents to give pupils extra love to reduce stress and exam pressure, saying: “When pupils enter an exam room, they must know that they are loved, and that failing exams is not the end of life.

“Pupils must know the purpose of writing exams, and their self-confidence should be nurtured at this time.”

St Monica’s School principal Darryn Pretorius also sent condolences to the family and friends and said the school is grieving with the family.

“Pupils have been taken for counselling after the shocking news was brought to school. He was popular in sport and was doing well academically. The school has lost a ‘brother’ and a ‘friend’ and may his soul rest in peace,” Pretorius said.

Tlhokomelo is expected to be buried in Matatiele this weekend.

“Pupils have been taken for counselling after the shocking news was brought to school. He was popular in sport and was doing well academically. The school has lost a ‘brother’ and a ‘friend’ and may his soul rest in peace,” Pretorius said.

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