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Slain pupil to be buried


While young people were being blamed for Tshepiso’s death, no one was confronting the root of the problem

Tshepiso Thompson

PUPILS have been encouraged to wear their school uniforms when they attend the funeral of Kimberley Boys’ High pupil Tshepiso Thompson this weekend, in solidarity against violence among youths.

The funeral will take place tomorrow morning at the NICC church on the corner of Hulana and Dinku streets, starting at 10am, and proceed to the West End Cemetery.

Sixteen-year-old Tshepiso was robbed of his denim jacket and sneakers and stabbed to death in the early hours of March 31.

Three men, between the ages of 25 and 29 years old, were arrested and appeared in the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday in connection with the murder .

A group of minors, who are suspected to be gang members, were taken in for questioning but were released from custody earlier this week as they could not be linked to the crime.

Tshepiso’s death sparked a massive outcry from the community over increasing acts of gangsterism, where youths are being killed and robbed of their belongings on a weekly basis.

Grade 12 pupil Boniface Ndlovu was also fatally stabbed after he was robbed of his matric dance shoes last month.

Some residents have called for another shutdown of the city in an attempt to address gang activity.

The shanty of a person suspected to have been involved in Tshepiso’s killing was torched following the incident last weekend, while reports were also received regarding two shanties that were set alight in Riemvasmaak as part of revenge attacks.

The secretary of the Sol Plaatje Community Forum, Tumelo Mosikare, said yesterday that they had requested the MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, to distribute a memorandum to all school principals, after she had visited the bereaved family yesterday.

“This young life should not have been lost so soon, in such a brutal manner. We are expecting a massive turnout at the funeral and have requested all high school pupils to wear their uniforms. We want to send out a strong message that we cannot react with violence, as it will not solve anything. Members of the Sol Plaatje Community Forum will also be paying their last respects,” said Mosikare.

He indicated that while young people were being blamed for Tshepiso’s death, no one was confronting the root of the problem.

“We need to reach out to the youth and find out why they are joining gangs or turning to drugs. Youngsters must be offered alternatives and solutions, as there are no recreational or sporting facilities for them to occupy themselves.”

Mosikare added that gangsterism and acts of violence were being spurred by the abuse of alcohol and drugs.

“We are hoping that youths will unite in painting a better picture, because not all youngsters are criminals. Communities need to join hands and start interacting with each other. Tshepiso’s death left both young and old with a bitter taste in their mouths. Most adults are outraged and believe the youth should be put in line. However, there is no conversation being had with the youths to discuss positive solutions.

“Peers should educate each other about the dangers of drugs instead of falling into the trap of drug dependency. A network of healthy friendships should be built, so that there is no need to join gangs.”