Double Tragedy: Pupil collapses and dies at memorial service for schoolmate


THE Gauteng Department of Education has confirmed that police are investigating the death of a matriculant at a memorial service for a schoolmate in Midrand, Joburg.

The David Makhubo High School in Kaalfontein started the month of May on a sombre note when they were greeted with a wave of tragic incidents.

The first tragedy struck when one of its grade 10 pupils died due to illness on Thursday, 2 May, and a week later, during a memorial service for that pupil, classmates would witness yet another death.

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Pupil collapses at school

Gauteng Department of Education spokesman Steve Mabona said a grade 12 pupil collapsed while in the schoolyard during a memorial service held on Thursday, 9 May, for the grade 10 pupil.

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When teachers were promptly alerted by pupils of this incident, and despite the initial assumption that the pupil had fainted, the situation was grave.

“Emergency services were called, and the pupils’ parents informed. Out of a need to maintain calm, the incident was not immediately disclosed to those at the memorial service to prevent panic.

“Regrettably, the pupil didn’t make it, and this news was disclosed at an assembly the following day, Friday, 10 May 2024,” Mabona said.

According to Mabona, before the announcement could be made, some pupils were overwhelmed by the unfolding events and experienced fainting spells.

“This incident has been captured in videos that have since gone viral on social media platforms,” Mabona sadded.

Community spiral out of control

After the tragic deaths, chaos unfolded at the school on Friday, 10 May, community members entered the school, Mabona said.

“There were instances of pupils driven out of the school grounds and unfortunate acts of looting school resources, including food supplies from the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) unfolded. Circuit management were on site on Thursday to oversee the handling of the situation post-collapse, and on Friday, during the assembly and subsequent disruptions.

“Police are investigating circumstances surrounding the tragic death of the grade 12 pupil, and all efforts were made to understand the sequence of events that led to this heartrending incident,” Mabona said.


Amid all the emotions, Gauteng Educations MEC Matome Chiloane extended his condolences.

“We wish to extend our sincerest condolences to the bereaved families following these tragic incidents. Our priority currently is to provide all necessary support to the pupils, staff, and families impacted by these tragedies.

“Counselling services and other forms of support will be extended to assist the school community during this difficult time,” said MEC Chiloane. DailySun.

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