Lufuno’s ‘crime’ was ‘being silent, being nice’, says friend at memorial
Chairperson of the School Governing Body Pastor Netshitavhe called for justice to prevail in Lufuno's case, and sent a warning to bullies.
Memorial service of Lufuno Mavhunga
Lufuno Mavhunga is in a better place and free from those who did not allow her to spread her wings, said her friend Mukoma Tshinakaho.
Mukoma was speaking on behalf of her friends as teachers and family gathered to remember Lufuno in a memorial service held at Mbilwi Secondary School in Limpopo on Friday morning.
Lufuno died on Monday following a video showing her being beaten by a fellow Grade 10 learner in a suspected case of bullying.
The suspect has since been arrested and appeared in the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Mukoma said she was “furious” when she saw her friend crying following the incident because there was nothing she could do to help her.
“Our hearts sank when we saw the bruises in her face, despite her innocence. What was her crime? Being silent? Being nice? I was fuming when she cried on my lap and I couldn’t do anything.
“Although we fought at times, the love was always there – never weakened and broken,” said teary Mukoma.
She paid tribute to her loving and caring friend – a “friend indeed”.
“Even though her decision caused us a lot [of pain], she’s now in a better place – free from those who did not allow her to spread her wings. What about the promises we made? Why did she leave us behind? The dreams we had for each other?
“She will never be forgotten as she was a friend indeed. Even though her decision may not have been a wise one, she is now in a better place and we will meet in the next life. Go well, rest well. ”
SGB condemns bullying
Chairperson of the School Governing Body (SGB) Pastor Netshitavhe called for justice to prevail in Lufuno’s case, and sent a warning to bullies that they would not go unpunished.
Netshitavhe said though the report of the incident alluded to a fight between two learners, what he saw in the video was different.
“We strongly condemn bullying. Even though the report given to the family said the learners were fighting, we saw that there was no fight; another defenceless learner was beaten.
“That case is worse than bullying because there was assault. It has become a criminal case,” said Netshitavhe.
“We are also here to warn other students who wish to bully other learners that we will not stand by and clap hands for you. Our children need our protection.”
He said the other learners who were there when the incident happened have been suspended and a date for the tribunal has been scheduled for next Thursday.
“When we heard about the incident we immediately called an urgent meeting to establish exactly what happened. We then went to the family.
“As per the school’s policy, the SGB opened a case and the culprit was arrested. As we are here, she appeared at the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court. We are relying on that video for evidence,” he said.
“All those learners who were there when the incident took place. They were served with suspension letters for seven days. During this time, we will ask them questions and we have appointed officials to handle the matter.
“The date of the tribunal is Thursday next week but we will not disclose the venue to avoid any interruptions.”
He further called on class representatives and members of the Learners’ Representative Council (LRC) to identify cases of bullying and report them to the school management.
Her teacher Miss Mphephu MJ said Lufuno’s behaviour at school was a testament to her good upbringing.
“She always did her school work and always stayed on the right path. This is why she could not defend herself when she was being hurt.
“I just want to tell the family that what they expected from their child is exactly what we expected from her – we expected good things from her.”
She leaves behind her parents, brothers and sisters.
Watch the proceedings below: