This week I’m breaking completely with tradition. Let me warn you that you are not going to read about a shimmy, a nutmeg or shibobo, a back heel, overhead kick, spectacular goal or an acrobatic diving save executed by Denis Onyango.
I’m not even going to congratulate Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs for creating history as the first time that two Mzansi teams have reached the quarterfinals of the prestigious Pan-African club competition, no Sir!
The reason is that I arrived home on Wednesday night and when my 20-year old daughter opened the garage door, I simply embraced her, then broke down and cried. Yes, I know men are not supposed to cry and believe me it freaked the hell out of my daughter.
Without asking me what happened or what had gone wrong, she also started crying with me. Later, after I had composed myself, I sat her down and informed her that I’m simply grateful and count my blessings because she is still alive.
I could see that I was confusing her and so I explained to her that I am a broken man, hurt beyond measure and deeply depressed. I know this is not the platform but as a parent, and a father of four girl children for that matter, my broken heart went out to the parents and family of 15-year old Lufuno Mavhungu who committed suicide this week.
The previous day, she had been violently assaulted by a fellow learner at her school in the far Northern parts of South Africa. I had been unlucky to have watched the vicious and brutal assault on the infamous video that went viral on social media platforms and my blood curled at the brutality of the assault.
And so, either through the embarrassment of facing her peers the next day after such a violent beating, or through fear of facing her bully and perhaps even getting an even more violent beating, she committed suicide by taking an overdose of tablets at her home.
I watched with helpless horror and frustration and underwent various emotions of anger, fear, confusion and sadness as the bully mercilessly beats up Mavhungu. I momentarily closed my eyes and wished away the violent assault, but when I opened them, the terrible beating continued with renewed vigour and what made it worse is that fellow pupils were filming the sadistic beating while others gleefully cheered the grade 10-leaners on.
I kept asking myself how much anger had the bully bottled up which she was unleashing on her victim? Who was she angry at? Did the anger emanate from her own home? Had it been caused by her family members or some friends had said something that made her to snap?
Was she reacting to an episode in her life caused by parental neglect? Had it perhaps been caused by an educator that had unconsciously said something to her or passed a remark that made her feel inferior and now she was taking it out on Mavhungu?
Is it perhaps a reflection of us as a society, that we are now breeding an extremely violent generation that has itself been brutalized by the violence they witness on a daily basis perpetrated on their fellow human beings?
90 year old grandmothers or six month old toddlers are not spared either. They are violently raped and even pregnant women are viciously killed and hanged. Goodness me, our women and children are under siege and we are but powerless to act or stop this internecine carnage.
I am not a psychologist and did not want to delve into the reason why the bully acted in the violent manner that she did? I’m not even going to make excuses for her brutally violent behaviour. I just wondered how she is feeling now that her victim has taken her own life and she is now facing a charged of murder.
I thanked God that my daughter had neither been brutalized nor violently assaulted by bullies at her institution but I am still traumatized by that video and my heart went out to the Mavhungu family that have lost their beloved daughter. May her soul rest in peace!