Hoërskool Driehoek pupils open up to counsellors, matric teaching to resume

2019-02-05 16:34
Matric learners will return to school on Wednesday. (Canny Maphanga, News24)

Matric learners will return to school on Wednesday. (Canny Maphanga, News24)

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Separate prayer meetings took place at Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark as the school prepared to open for matric pupils on Wednesday – less than a week after four pupils died when a concrete slab fell on them.

Parents and pupils continued to visit the school, hanging wreaths and leaving messages of support on the school fence in memory of the slain pupils.

Framed photos of the deceased pupils, teddy bears, autographed school uniforms, ribbons, candles and wooden crosses were place on the school gates. 

Nearby trees and electricity poles were draped in the school's colours.

The concrete slab fell on 26 pupils on Friday after they left the assembly hall. Several pupils were injured – some had to have their limbs amputated.

Inside the premises, tents were erected to accommodate those who needed trauma counselling. Pupils sat underneath gazebos as psychologists listened to them.

Some began their counselling sessions with a prayer before relating the tragic event that left the country shocked last week.

READ: Funeral arrangements for Hoërskool Driehoek victims announced

An emotional Annette Engelbrecht, who accompanied her two sons to a counselling session, said the accident still gnawed away at her and her children, who are in Grades 9 and 11. 

"It will never be forgotten. One of the deceased learners was a friend to one of my sons. They were close and my son can't stop speaking about the deceased learner.

"I am grateful that none of my children were injured. Unfortunately, what hurts me is that innocent and young lives have been lost. As parents, we are supporting the bereaved families to ensure that they are healed emotionally. We also pray for those in hospital for a speedy recovery," she said. 

Rescue efforts

Matankiso Meraka also accompanied her nephew to the school for counselling on Tuesday. 

Meraka said her nephew was close to three of the deceased pupils and that they played sport and represented the school together in various competitions.

"Since Friday, my nephew is quiet and doesn't talk a lot. I am worried that he is bottling this thing inside. I want him to be counselled to quickly heal and begin his studies. For now, he doesn't look like he is ready to continue with his studies. He has stopped talking and is always alone," she said.

Her nephew was among many who assisted with the rescue efforts on Friday to free those who were trapped under the rubble.

"The things he [said] he saw when he rescued learners who were trapped are scary. I am not going to divulge the type of injuries those learners suffered when the concrete slab collapsed on them," Meraka said.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  education  |  accidents
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