Pietermaritzburg- The deputy principal of a Pietermaritzburg high school was gunned down in front of her Grade 12 pupils during her weekend lessons on Saturday.
Priscilla Thembelihle Mchunu (54) was the deputy principal and also acting principal at Laduma High School in Mpumuza, Edendale.
Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said Mchunu was teaching a Grade 12 class on Saturday at around 11 am when two men came into the classroom and opened fire on her.
“Police found 19 cartridges from the firearms at the crime scene. She sustained multiple wounds on her head and was declared dead at the scene,” said Ngobese.
Sibusiso Ntuli, who is Mchunu’s nephew, told The Witness that the family had been living in Boughton with her two children, her mother and her brother.
“We are heartbroken. We are all still shocked and confused as to how this happened. She was a good person and I don’t understand why anyone would want to kill her,” said Ntuli.
Ntuli described Mchunu as a hard worker and a family person.
He said Mchunu was a history teacher who dedicated most of her time to teaching and would sometimes give lessons on the radio.
She had also spent more than 20 years teaching at Laduma High School.
“She played a huge role in this family. Whenever she was around we knew that everything would be taken care of. She will be greatly missed and forever loved.”
Ntuli said they are hopeful that the police will catch the culprits and pleaded with anyone with information to take it to the police.
MEC for Education in KwaZulu-Natal Mthandeni Dlungwana rushed to the school on Saturday where he met with the community and local leadership.
“We are shocked about this tragic incident involving our dedicated educator who had sacrificed her time to teach the children of our nation. Our prayers are with the family of the deceased during this difficult moment,” said Dlungwana.
Ngobese said the police are investigating a case of murder but no one has been arrested yet and the motive for the murder is unknown.
“We are doing our best to catch these criminals,” said Ngobese.
Mchunu is survived by her son and daughter who are both in their early twenties.
Social media reacts to murder
Social media was flooded with condolences and heartfelt messages about the local teacher, Priscilla Mchunu, who was shot dead in front of her pupils.
Sboniso Maphumulo said: “… Our lives as teachers are always at stake while we are required to perform at the best of our ability. Our government needs to ensure our safety at schools before it’s too late. May her soul rest in peace.”
Zamakajobe Sithole said: “People are so cruel. How can someone shoot a woman with five bullets? Yes she was strict with learners but she didn’t deserve to die like this.”
Chris Thenjwayo said: “RIP MaPri. Be comforted Mchunu family, the learners who saw her die in front of them, Laduma and Mpumuza community.”
Zolani Msizeni Duma wrote: “I am absolutely stunned by the tragedy which saw Miss Mchunu losing her life in front of Laduma High pupils.
“She was a mother, teacher, mentor, historian, social scientist and a guardian."