Mashudu Netsianda and Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporters
LESSONS resumed at Intunta Primary School in Bulawayo’s Sizinda suburb a day after the school was temporarily closed after two Grade 5 learners on Monday stumbled upon a half-naked body in the schoolyard.
The body, which was discovered by the two learners at around 7AM, had bruises and deep cuts, raising suspicions that the deceased could have been killed and dumped in the school yard.
The deceased has been identified as Musawakhe Nceku Mthunzi (21).
When a Chronicle news crew arrived at the school, detectives from the CID homicide were already at the scene conducting investigations. Stunned residents, who wanted to catch a glimpse of the body, were milling in front of the school gate after they were blocked from entering the school yard.
Musawakhe’s father, Mr Japhet Mthunzi, who lives in the rural areas of Matobo in Matabeleland South, came and managed to positively identify his son before the body was ferried to the United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) mortuary.
Musawakhe was Mr Mthunzi’s last born from four children.
“When I got home on Saturday, my wife told me that Musa had not come home since Friday. I had come to see her because she wasn’t feeling well. I went around asking his friends until Sunday. I thought he had been arrested for not wearing a mask and was detained at the police station or he was caught drinking in public,” said Mr Mthunzi.
He said on Monday he decided to go to Tshabalala police station to see if he could pay the fine for his son.
“When I was on my way there, I don’t know what made me change direction towards the school, my heart just said divert this route. When I got to the school I saw people gathered there and, in my head, I’m thinking that there was a fight and then I enquired what was happening. I was then told that the body of a man was found in the school,” said Mr Mthunzi.
He said people were not allowed to enter the school premises, but because he was looking for Musawakhe, he forced his way in.
“I asked inside and they said, the person had a black t-shirt. I then phoned my wife and asked what he was wearing when he was last seen and she said a black t-shirt. I then asked the people again, they said he was wearing a jean and I phoned my wife again and she said he was wearing a jean, but I didn’t tell her. One of the employees at the school who knows me because my children learnt there said to me, ‘mdala ungabalomnyama’.”
Mr Mthunzi said he was then given a chair to sit on, while police did their investigations, thereafter he was asked by police to identify the body.
“He was facing up. When I looked at him, I immediately said this is my child. I was so pained at how I would tell my wife. The police took me in their car to our house about 2KMs from the school. I was accompanied by a female and two male police officers who narrated to my wife what had happened,” said Mr Mthunzi.
He said a post-mortem report says he was hit several times on the head and that caused bleeding in the brain, likely causing his death.
Mr Mthunzi believes his son was beaten up on Friday night and either tried to run away from the assailants by scaling the school’s wall or he was dumped there by the attackers.
He said Musawakhe will be buried today in Bulawayo.
Director of Communications and Advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Mr Taungana Ndoro said lessons at Intunta Primary School resumed on Tuesday and the pupils are being counselled.
“To provide learner support services in light of the traumatic experience they underwent.
They are given psychological services by our department Learner Welfare, Special Needs and Psychological Services Department. We have got psychologists in the ministry who attend to those learners and provide learner support services,” he said.
“It was just a suspension of lessons for that day and they are now back to school. The same psychologists take time to address the learners at the school class by class. They must have gone there and counselled the learners by now.”
On Monday, a teacher who declined to be named said school authorities had to dismiss learners early.
“Our bosses from the provincial education offices came and directed us to cancel school lessons and dismiss the learners because there were no other way children would pay attention in class after witnessing such a horrific incident. In fact, the two learners who discovered the body were so traumatised,” said the teacher.
“Everyone at school was shocked and surprisingly even the security guard manning the yard was equally shocked as he didn’t witness any scuffle or see the body being dumped.
Acting Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele confirmed the incident, saying they are investigating a murder case involving a 21-year-old victim.
“On Monday at around 7am, two Grade 5 learners at Intunta Primary School in Sizinda suburb were doing routine tasks around the school premises when they came across a body in the school ground.
They then alerted the school authorities who subsequently contacted us,” she said.
Asst Insp Msebele said when police attended the scene, they discovered that the deceased had bruises on the body.
He had nothing in his possession.
“The deceased was later positively identified by his father. The body was then conveyed to United Bulawayo Hospital mortuary. Investigations are still in progress,” said the police spokesperson.
She said they were appealing to anyone who might have information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect to contact police or visit any nearest police station.- @bonganinkunzi @mashnets