School’s triple tragedy

Sea Point High School held a memorial service on Monday for two pupils killed last weekend as well as a staff members son.

Sea Point High School is in mourning after three teens connected to the school of some 450 pupils were murdered in the space of three days this month.

A memorial service was held at Sea Point High on Monday October 10 for Grade 10 pupil Goitsemang Leburu, 2015 matriculant Siphelele Manona and Ashwin Robertson, 17, the son of one of the school’s staff members.

All of the killings took place between the early hours of Saturday October 1 and Monday October 3.

School principal Piet Botha said Goitsemang had been stabbed in the neck in Nyanga on Saturday October 1. She had been trying to protect her aunt who had gotten into an argument that turned violent.

Ashwin was shot in Bonteheuwel over the same weekend while parked outside his girlfriend’s house.

Siphelele was stabbed to death in the early hours of Saturday October 1 in Gugulethu, where he was working as a photographer for an automotive company.

Mr Botha said the school had been in touch with the police through the parents but so far no arrests had been made in connection with any of the crimes.

Neither the SAPS provincial media spokesman Colonel André Traut nor the Nyanga and Gugulethu police stations were able to provide Atlantic Sun with any information on the killings.

Maxine Fraser, a teacher at the school, said all three of the children had been killed in the space of three days and all of them had been under 18.

“This has really wrecked the school community. Many of our children are faced with these challenges on a daily basis. It’s their everyday reality and they experience this.”

Mr Botha, who has been at the school for more than 30 years, said: “We read about it and we see it on the TV, but when it happens this close to home, it really gets you.

“We are a small school and like a family, so it makes this even more tragic.”

He said the school’s motto this year was to embrace each moment because you don’t know when it will be over.

“An important message at the service was to tell the children to make a change in their communities for the better.”

He said the memorial service had been important to give the pupils some sort of closure.

Zithandile Nkonji, who was part of the 2015 matric class spoke at the service. He said he and Siphelele had both planned to move to Johannesburg.

“Siphelele was always good at maths and he wanted to study accounting. It was difficult for him because of the environment where he came from has a very high crime rate.

“On the day that he was killed he had gone to sign up at CPUT in case he didn’t get into the University of Johannesburg.”

Zithandile, who lives in Hazeldene, said Siphelele had always pushed him and encouraged him with his studies.