Nine-year-old dies in class

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Melvyn's death is a stark warning to parents of the dangers of childhood obesity. To his friends he was a happy, burly boy who after a rainstorm would jump from pool to pool on those sturdy legs of his with such energy his cheeks would wobble.

He was the chubby little fellow who was always laughing, a ray of sunshine to his teachers, clever academically and an example to his peers.

No one worried when he grew bigger because he seemed totally content – so much so he jumped up in class one day and exclaimed, “I’m so, so happy, so very happy!”

No one realised Melvin Nyalela, a Grade 4 learner at Laerskool Pellsrus in Jeffrey’s Bay, was dying. Or were they simply ignoring the warning signs – the occasions when he struggled to breathe and fell asleep in class?

PHOTO: Melvin Nyalela’s classmates at his desk in the classroom where he died.

Read more in Carol Coetzee’s article in YOU 8 December 2011.

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