Today Sowetan newspaper broke news of a 13-year-old boy who hung himself after a conversation with his parents.
A little boy, S’duduzo Qulo, Sowetan reported, hung himself “on Sunday shortly after a conversation with his mother. This was after he begged her not to make him go back to Scottville Primary School in KwaZulu-Natal next year reported”.
“The Grade 5 pupil was allegedly not getting along with one of the teachers at the school. Last week the school had given pupils forms to fill in, confirming whether they would be returning to the school next year. His mother had to complete the form for him to take back to school,” Sowetan newspaper reported.
The boy’s mother Nolwazi Dlamini said “he used to tell me about the ‘abusive and racist teacher’, but I did not take it seriously until a few months ago when I decided to report these complaints to the principal. But I did not get any joy from that either because in my conversation with the principal it was clear that he was protecting the teacher and being very defensive”
But on being approached, the “principal had not said anything or made any plans to make sure that the boy was protected against the teacher”.
Unimaginably, it’s alleged the teacher would “made fun of the fact that he was older than other children in his class” and later [the boy] told his mother. So what?
The child’s repeated requests to his parents not to return to the school next year and their lack of reinforced investigation with the relevant authorities after the principal’s denial, or shield, of the allegation against the teacher – went unattended and are quite frightening for any parent our there, or even a brother!
Two weeks ago, I learned, when talking to two salon attendants whose son was wise enough to understand his mother tongue language Shangaan which’s difficult for me to learn – is that children are the best gifts of gifts, but after life.
They must be cared for, nurtured, protected and celebrated. Failure to do so will result in incidents such as these – because when parents do that, although it should not be condoned, this leaves a sense of loneliness on the children.
In this case, Qulo felt – I’d imagine as I used to do when I was a little boy feeling neglected and like an outsider and despite his mother having spoken to the principal about the allegation – left out, not cared for and, worse, not loved.
As a parent, how would you know your child is feeling like this because you have not spent much time with him lately, if not for a long time, and asked him, generally if there was anything bothering him that he thought you would be able to help with?
“You’ve got the nerve,” “how dare you, you do not even have a child of you own,” or “what do you know about parenting” some of you may be asking.
When this happens, not to say the child deserved it – and anyone to say that would deserve a death penalty? and would be behaving like the likes of Brandon Huntley or lack thereof – we ask ourselves, especially after recent racial and racist attacks and incidents that took place in South Africa, if this could have been avoided.
This, it must be emphasized, is not to blame anyone plus it could have happened to any child of any race, country and religion. However, this is to indicate to parents out there, and yes I am not a parent nor have I been one and it does not take one to know this, that we need to pay more attention to how we react and attend to our children’s’ needs, desires, love, affections, protection they expect from their parents and the lack thereof.
Further, this should not be taken by parents as an infliction of pain on them for tragedies that take place on their daily lives, but as a way of engaging our young minds who in the future will be our own mirrors we would reflect ourselves on.
In the end, it is not just about listening, but more of an understanding of the child and the message s/he's trying to relay to you!
It is however, sad that he took his own life for reasons he may only know of, o or was it because of ……