In the video, which has been labeled “sensitive content” on Instagram. The 15-year-old tenth grader, a student at Mbilwi Secondary School, is seen being beaten and slapped by another teen girl while other students cheer on. Lufuno tells the girls, “You’re hurting me,” but the assault continued.
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The attack occurred after Lufuno blocked her attacker on social media platforms WhatsApp and Facebook– after constant harassment.
Police spokesperson for the South African town, Brig Motlafela Mojapelo, said, “The victim 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.”
The 15-year old girl who beat Lufuno was arrested and “will be dealt with in accordance with the Child Justice Act,” Mojapelo said. The investigation into Lufano’s suicide is ongoing.
Lufuno, whose name means “love,” was the youngest member of her family. Dakalo Mavhunga, her brother, said his sister “was a very peaceful person, and she had love, as her name suggests. 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.”
Following the attack, the distraught teen spoke with her brother and told him that no one tried to help her. She also told him that school officials did nothing to stave off the bullying.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) did a fact-finding investigation at the school and learned that Lufano’s attacker had been involved in fights and bullying in the past, stemming from the eighth grade.
“What we are going to do is to get more information. We also want to investigate if the Department of Education was aware of this incident and what is it that was done? Because if a learner assaults somebody, the principal or teachers must assist the learners to open a case with the police, and that was not done. The principal was aware that there was a fight,” said SAHRC Office Manager Victor Mavhidula.
Dakalo said Lufuno wanted to be a doctor, so the family enrolled her in Mbilwi Secondary School. The learning institution had a math and science program that would adequately prep the teen for her future endeavors. After her suicide, the family, Dakalo said, wants nothing more than Lufuno to get justice.
“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,” Dakalo said.