Hundreds of mourners gathered at Kensington Secondary School, Johannesburg, to bid farewell to 13-year-old Enock Mpianzi, who drowned on January 15.
The Parktown Boys High pupil attended a Grade 8 orientation camp at Nyati Riverbreak and Resort in Brits and the raft he and other pupils had built capsized in the river.
Among those who paid their last respects to Enock were pupils from his primary school, Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and EFF MP Vuyani Pambo.
Enock’s older brother, Yves Kadilo, said he had not prepared himself for such a sad day.
“He had so many ambitions, goals and dreams, but now Enock is no more. We have to find the strength to move on.
“With Enock being the last child in the family and his three brothers all done with school, he was never exposed to any wild life. He was our egg and we protected him greatly. Our family wanted the best possible education, which we, his brothers never received.”
Kadilo said when he was a pupil at Athlone Boys High School, seniors had always looked out for one another and after younger boys.
“We stood as a family. We never took kids to do dangerous activities that may put them in danger. We took them to activities where we as seniors always looked out for Grade 8s. We protected them as best as we could and we were responsible,” he said.
Ndlozi lamented the teenager’s death and blamed “our negligent society” for the tragedy.
“When a child is lost, it is the greatest condemnation to the rest of us because it means that as a people, we are negligent. So when a child is lost at the age of 13, it is a sign of a community that has been caught irresponsible and negligent,” he said.
Ndlozi used the platform to talk about the importance of continental unity and implored Africans to address their self-hate and xenophobia.
“In his memory, we’ve got to believe in black people. In his memory, we have to speak to the self-hate in our country that is expressed in not caring for ourselves, expressed in xenophobic violence.”
Pambo said Enock’s tragic death was a continental tragedy.
“We ought to dedicate a moment to think about how we uphold certain traditions like these camps. In my dedication and thinking, I ask myself, would he have been treated differently had he been of a different colour?
“The question is whether this school (Parktown Boys) really takes care of its pupils, whether or not there is any other abuse that is happening that is not yet exposed.
“We need to use his death as a revelation of many other things and malpractices that are happening in this school as it has a bad history, which we’ve seen in the past couple of years,” said Pambo.
“It is also important that justice is served. We believe that, as it stands, the school is covering up. The school continued as though nothing had happened.”
Enock was laid to rest at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg.
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Source: Sunday Independent