A teenager in South Africa reportedly committed suicide after being on the receiving end of bullying by schoolmates.
Tenth-grader Lufuno Mavhunga reportedly overdosed on pills, after a video in which the classmate rained blows and slapped her went viral on social media platforms.
“Lufuno was young, and we were expecting more from her. Her departure has hurt us a lot,” Dakalo Mavhunga, the older brother of 15-year-old Lufuno Mavhunga, told South African outlet The TimesLive.
In the undated viral video the late Lufumo, who schooled at Mbilwi Secondary School, is seen being confronted by two other girls. One of the girls signals to the other and then slaps Lufuno countless times.
According to a police report, the girl was attacked last Monday (April 12) after she blocked her perpetrator on social media sites for sending her threatening messages.
Police spokesperson Brig. Motlafela Mojapelo said Lufuno “reportedly went home in the afternoon and, on arrival, locked herself in the room and consumed an overdose of tablets. She was apparently found by her mother lying unconscious and was taken to Siloam Hospital, where she was certified dead on arrival.”
Her attacker, 14, was arrested Wednesday, April 14 and will be prosecuted using South Africa’s Child Justice Act.
The deceased’s brother told The TimesLive that his sister’s name translated to “love,” and she aspired to become a doctor.
“She was a very peaceful person, and she had love, as her name suggests,” said Dakalo Mavhunga, 27. “She didn’t fight back when she was being slapped, she only tried to explain. But the girl didn’t even give her a chance.”
“As a family, all we want is for Lufuno to find justice from what she has faced maybe after that her soul will rest in peace.”
Lufuno Mavhunga’s perpetrator in court
On Thursday, April 22, the case against Lufuno Mavhunga’s perpetrator was postponed to April 28 and April 29, 2021.
Prosecution opposed to her being granted bail, citing the teen’s safety following threats from members of the community.
She had appeared behind closed doors at Thohoyandou Children’s court.
Like many other young people around the world, teenagers in South Africa are struggling with depression, hopelessness amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. A South African counselor told Yahoo News that suicidal ideation and attempts in both boys and girls have increased in the country.
“Research shows that 23.6% of teens are struggling with feelings of hopelessness and sadness,” Cayley Jorgensen said, “which raises the question: Are we as a community doing enough to support teens?”