Home » Real Lives » “IT WAS A CALL FOR HELP, I NEVER MEANT TO KILL MYSELF”

THERE HAS BEEN A DISTURBING RISE IN TEENAGE SUICIDES AS YOUNG PEOPLE STRUGGLE TO COPE WITH LIFE’S DEMANDS – LECHANI MOKGOSI, 16, WAS NEARLY ONE OF THEM

She couldn’t take it anymore. The unkind laughter, name-calling, and finger pointing that tormented her as she turned the corner or walked down the school corridors.

With almost every student at Shangani Junior Secondary School labelling her a witch, 16-year-old Lechani Mokgosi turned to a bottle of painkiller tablets and swallowed 38 of the pills in two mouthfuls.

SURVIVED: Lechani tells her story from hospital

“ I wanted to kill myself. I was tired of the nasty remarks the other students made. Each time they saw me pass-by they would say, ‘Here comes the witch!’ They had all sorts of names for me. Even when I minded my own business and concentrated on studying some people would still say, ‘You think we don’t know that you use boloi’ (witchcraft). They giggled and gossiped at how I was going to use black magic to pass my Junior Certificate examinations,” narrated the pretty young girl from Themashanga.

The Form Three student, who has been boarding at the school for three years, had no problems until her third term this year. Then out of the blue a Form One student who had been performing badly at school blamed Lechani for her poor results, saying that she had been bewitched. The younger girl accused her of being a witch and visiting Tsamaya’s cemetery each night.

“Due to the girl’s crazy accusations and lies my life at school suddenly became a nightmare,” Lechani explained.

But despite telling the school authorities, nothing was done. She wrote a letter to her Head of Department telling her that she was unhappy about the teasing, but still no action was taken.

“No matter what I did students kept saying, “Don’t forget we know you are a witch.’ Even if I had a small misunderstanding or quarrelled with a fellow student my being a witch kept coming up,” she said.

“Then as if it that was not enough the mother to the Form One student who had been spreading the rumours, came to the school and shouted at me for reporting her daughter to the authorities. The woman asked why I was fighting her daughter. I told her I was not, but it was her child who was fighting me for reasons better known to her.”

Spitting out her words the accusing mother continued her tirade, threatening Lechani. “ She told me that when I looked at her dark complexion I should not assume she was a good person, but that her heart could be worse than her daughter’s.

“ What hurt me most was that no one wanted to listen to me, or give me a fair chance. My accuser was being favoured because her mother was a friend to our Head of Department, and she was the one who told her that I had written the letter. Each time I wanted to contact my mother to tell her what was going on, the teacher threatened me with expulsion or not allowing me to continue with my examinations.”

Matters took a drastic twist when Lechani and three of her friends were caught writing graffiti on the walls of the girls’ toilet. Lechani admits that it was probably not the most sensible thing to do under the circumstances, but says that she was just being rebellious.

“The Head of Department believed I was the ring leader, and once again she was so much on my case even though we had admitted our guilt to the other teachers, who were happy just to give us a warning after washing off the words we had written. But the Head of Department said that if my parents did not come to school, I would be expelled or not allowed to sit for my examinations.”

Confused, dejected and threatened with possible expulsion, on the Wednesday evening after extended study the slender young girl saw no way out but to end her short, youthful and promising life.

“It’s not that I really wanted to die, I just wanted help – someone out there to listen to me. I couldn’t tell mama because I was afraid of being expelled.

“During study time I got the idea of ending it all. When I got back to the hostel I asked my friends for some painkillers and managed to collect about 40 pills.

“I slept for a while then woke and drank the first 15 tablets. After drinking I felt nothing different. I decided to sleep for another 10 minutes to see what would happen. I woke again and drank the remaining pills – it was then that I felt some gases coming through my nose, and started to feel dizzy. I decided that all I could do was to lay down and wait to die.”

Closing her eyes for a moment as if reliving the experience, Lechani continues her story: “ In my drowsiness my friend came over to ask why I was sleeping. I told her I had drunk a lot of tablets but had lost count of how many. By the time she came back with the matron, I was vomiting, too weak to walk and know what was going on around me. I fainted as they were carrying me.

“The next time I woke up I was in hospital. It took me a while to realise that I was still alive – then I felt mama’s hand in mine and the tears came. I remember thinking that at last I had someone’s attention, and feeling somehow happy that I had not died.”

Lechani had been in hospital for almost ten days when she talked about her ordeal. In that time she had had her stomach pumped and had written her last six examination papers from her hospital bed.

Taking up the story her mother Tumelo, 33, a supermarket supervisor, said she was only told that she was wanted at her daughter’s school when the Head of Department passed by her workplace in Francistown.

“The woman told me that my daughter had scribbled insults on the girls’ toilet wall. She said the paint had peeled off when they washed the wall, so the school wanted me to pay for it to be repainted.  I explained to her I was not able to come with her because I was on duty, but promised to come the next morning. To my surprise later that evening I received another call, this time from the matron, asking me to come to Tsamaya because my girl had drunk some tablets.

“While I was still looking for transport, another call from the school came through. The matron told me to meet them at Nyangabgwe Referral hospital because Lechani’s condition was deteriorating. When I saw my daughter she was only accompanied by the nurse, no one from the school was in sight. No one came along to tell me why my daughter had drunk the tablets or why she wanted to commit suicide,” related the troubled mother.

CONCERNED: Tumelo still wants answers from the school

It was two terrifying hours before she was certain that her beloved daughter would pull through.

Then three days after her girl’s hospital admission, Tumelo’s relief turned to anger as she went to the school in search of answers.

“Neither the Deputy Head nor the Head of Department were able to give me satisfactory answers as to why my daughter had been driven to take such extremes. When I asked to be shown the toilet walls where Lechani had written, I was taken from one toilet to another but could see no marks, or any paint peeling off from the wall,” she said.

With no answers forthcoming from the school, Tumelo waited for her daughter to fully recover to tell her side of the story.

“From what she told me the school trampled on my daughter’s rights in failing to deal with the abuse and help my child.  The people whom we trust with our children allowed her to be bullied by other children in the school and let another parent threaten her.

“This incident should be an eye opener to other parents to see to it that our children in boarding schools are treated with care by those people we have trusted as their guardians away from home. It is the reason why we have decided to tell our story here – not out of spite, but a genuine desire to sound a warning.

“I asked my daughter if she wanted to speak publicly about what had happened, and she agreed that the did. She wants her voice heard to help others who might be in the same situation. This is her story – I think she is very brave to tell it.”

The school in question was contacted for a comment. The headmistress referred all questions to the Ministry of Education. To date they have not replied to a questionnaire.


tumelo

tumelo

19 Responses to ““IT WAS A CALL FOR HELP, I NEVER MEANT TO KILL MYSELF””

  1. shobenas 2012/11/24

    so disturbing.

  2. phomphoko 2012/11/25

    a mathothapelo banna

  3. ditso 2012/11/25

    Hey mo go bothoko thata

  4. Pepere 2012/11/26

    Waitse ke dilo tse bosatane ga obona bareana babo bane ba palelelwa ke bokgarebe jaanong ba jalasetsa ngwana,yare ore motho ke moloi wabo obone ka wena gagona ope o itseng ditiro tsamoloi unless ole ene okabo o ba kwadile ka maina abone.

  5. Sasloo 2012/11/26

    You want answers from teachers??this is crazy, as a parent you must be your child’s friend..she must be able to communicate/you see the signs before anyone,” you first not the teachers.. is your child”..This is crazy how most people put all their responsibilities on teachers nowadays, the biggest teacher is parents..i want to here at one point a child from a public school saying “my mother said/or daddy said”making that reference in a classroom setting..Very rare in my country..its always the teacher to teach..Now mummy cares more by accusing other people..Do your job of a mother mosadi, very lucky she is not dead..Be a better parent next time, Child bearing and raising is God’s work..A very tough job that can be done by you better, if you gave her little time ..Miss eyebrow pencil..

  6. blumara 2012/11/26

    eish da school management le one ke 6o hela waitse….eish ngwana wa modimo batho bt luckily she is alive

  7. sebi 2012/11/27

    @sasloo, i thnk u ddnt understand at all wat ws happening in the story, wena o busy tryn to bitterly defend the teachers n blame the mum. no need to b bitter. ths gal is in boarding skul n the same teachers ur defending, they r blocking her 4rm contacting the mum( her only source of help n advise) n threatning to expell her if she evn tries

  8. aimz 2012/11/27

    These skulz of nawasayz ke mathata hela,bagolo ba jola le bana ke mokopakopano hela…

  9. stacy 2012/11/27

    gone mme ha a re ngwana wa batho ke moloi o mmone kae? ga se gore le ene o ne a le ko mabitleng koo masigo, le ene wa loa…? nxla! ba batla go beletswa dipuo tse tsa bone. eses!

  10. Total 2012/11/28

    @Sasloo is a confused moron. He is creating a pandemonium whilst in complete darkness. This is a recent incident when a kid is kept in a boarding school I don’t know how your limited theory on parents’ responsibility plays out in such a scenario. I agree with those who say yes its fairly easy to point fingers at other people when you fail to do your school work and accuse other people of witchcraft. Fairly easy and grossly unfair and if the arbitrator are limited in scope like boSasool then you have a keg of disaster. I am glad they are sending more teachers for further education gongwe that dragnet e tla kgona go olela boSasool ya tla ya thusa. Re ka felelwa ke bana

  11. lizzyful 2012/11/28

    @Sasloo,,they are not allowed to use cellphones @ school, hw was she suppose to communicate with her mother,,,ths was jst negligence of teachers

  12. Sasloo 2012/11/28

    At the end of the day we are the once that suffer..i cant imagine just staying without seeing/hearing from any of my children for a week.How do some people/parents allow that to happen, i’m the best teacher of their lives..if the school rules then change them, you are the parents..Tell the system to allow cellphones in schools and stop blaming the teachers, some of them are not as bad as we think..i also agree negligence contributed to the factor but tota what do you expect from our public schools, from our own past experiences..Ko reneng re tshaba le go boisa teacher ka gore o bogale, even if you need help ka class work o ne o ipotsa gabedi la boraro, ware mma ke tlogele..”Ha ele head ene i bile a le worse” ke gore ka tshwanelo o tshwanetse gore a nne Tau..But we allow this people to live our children term without hearing from them, then we claim lorato..”Ratang bana ba lona batho”..Prove it ka your involvement in their upbringing..E seng Nanny/Teacher..”Teachers are not Nannies.. Batsadi”

  13. aoshems…sele sentenyana jaana banna

    sory for that nana

  14. Puleg1 2012/11/29

    ish yits is so painful, ke utlwa selelo sa gago nana tota o ne o bata thuso and i understand botshelo ba boarding school gore bo ntse jang modimo o na le wena jst trust in him tse tsotlhe di ta apara tshiamo

  15. kgano 2012/11/30

    have faith in yr living God ma dear, they are making you stronger, they shal all pay 4 their deeds!

  16. stagarandah 2013/03/12

    The devil is a liar in Jesus name!Your destiney is so bright Lechani, that is why the devil is using those pple to destroy it!You are a star my dear!Nevermind God is with you thats why He didn’t allow you to die, He has a plan for you!Ipee mo ditlhakong tsa ga Jesu Keresete fa ane a kgobotlediwa ke batho ka dipuo a bitswa maina a otlhe nnaka!He never gives up, No matter how satan toment you, keep on pressing, God is with you!Speedy recovery and continue with the trip of life!KEEP PRESSING, nomatter how had KEEP PRESSING!

  17. xhwachaa 2013/05/21

    Sasloo is just a moron, embicile, nimcompoop of the highiest class. You are simply a poor reader who lacks serious understanding.The story is loud and clear and everything seems to have been exaggerated. Imagine HOD lying about the scraped toilet wall, the intimidation of expulsion meted out to the young girl etc. One thing is for sure,beautiful girls who do not bend to the demands of the love seeking teachers tend to be hated. My analytical skills tells me the whole lies were manufactured by the HOD under the disguise of the poor Form 1. Bo Sasloo weeee, A parent who is normal upstairs cant behave the way you want us to believe you. Weekly visits, o moloi Sasloo. Boarding schools groom students to be independent, therefore, your purported visits only stand to destruct your children from learning. Whats paramount is that parents must entrust teachers with parentalhood and without doubts. Bana ba gago ba bona dilo sasloo if you have any, which i doubt thou.

  18. mmaphedulaa 2013/06/11

    Ao batho! e le gor ngwana yo o kana o bitswa moloi go bonwe eng mo go ene… 4 sho sumbdy hav to giv a clear ansa 4 dis. wish u a quik recovery nnana

  19. maanyaanya 2013/06/14

    go tla siama nna. baloi ke bone ba baneng bare o moloi

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