Avatar photo

By Editorial staff

Journalist


Hennops drowning: Tragedy must serve as a lesson

This week, two teenagers from a school in Daveyton, Benoni, allegedly drowned in the Hennops River outside Pretoria.


Why is it that, so often in South Africa, we do not learn lessons from tragedies?

That’s the question lingering, following the deaths of two more pupils in a drowning incident while on a supposedly supervised outdoor adventure camp.

This week, two teenagers from a school in Daveyton, Benoni, allegedly drowned in the Hennops River outside Pretoria.

ALSO READ: Two pupils drown in school excursion mishap (VIDEO)

They were on what was described by Gauteng education MEC Matome Chiloane as a “discipline camp” …whatever that means.

There are many unanswered questions about the drowning, although the official version is that once the day’s activities were over, one boy dashed to the river and jumped in.

The other followed him in an apparent attempt to rescue him, but both drowned. Whatever happened – and we urge a swift and thorough investigation – the bottom line is that, yet again, lives have been lost.

Whether it was an accident or partly due to lack of supervision by teachers and adults, the school and the entire education system need to carry out a re-evaluation of how such outings are conducted.

More than that, though, these tragedies indicate the need for compulsory swimming training in our schools.

Many underprivileged kids don’t know how to swim, which is a basic skill that could save their lives.

ALSO READ: ‘We want those questions responded to, scientifically’ – Law firm to investigate school girl’s drowning

Parallel to swimming instruction, schools must, as part of the curriculum, offer training in water life-saving and make it a subject for which academic credit can be earned.

The same needs to be done with emergency CPR training at a basic level – and not just for the school first-aiders.

This sort of training will not only help save lives at schools, but will provide youngsters with valuable skill for the future, possibly even helping them in future careers.

If we don’t learn lessons from these tragedies, those kids will have died in vain.

Read more on these topics

drown drowning