The Founders High School pupil whose friend Wayne Ndlovu died while protecting him from Hamilton High School bullies, requested a second body viewing of his hero to confirm that he had indeed died at the hands of a pupil who stabbed him on Monday.
At first, he froze, staring at Wayne’s body.
He behaved as if he was waiting to have another conversation with his friend, but this was not to be as Wayne, who was granted a State-assisted funeral, lay still in his coffin.
The pupil had to be pulled and escorted away, but he requested to see his friend one last time.
Attempts to speak to the learner were fruitless as he said he was not in the right state of mind.
Several other pupils also shed tears as they paid their last respects to Wayne, who seemed to have been a darling of many at the school.
Monday February 13, 2023, will probably linger in the memories of not just pupils at Founders High School, but Bulawayo and the country at large.
Wayne, a Form Four pupil, was stabbed to death by a 17-year-old Hamilton High School pupil, cutting short a promising life of a child who aspired to be a doctor.
Founders High School head, Ms Dorothea Moyo, described Wayne as an all-rounder and intelligent boy who was part of the cream of the school.
“He challenged other learners academically, he was always involved in sport and just last week he represented his school at the inter-school track and field competition held at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust),” she said.
“Wayne was a good dancer and would provide entertainment at the school and at home. He would extend a helping hand to anyone.”
Ms Moyo said it was saddening to witness pupils depressed, crying over the loss of their schoolmate.
“Wayne Ndlovu was our beloved learner who has been transferred into posterity. He was in 4A1, our first and science class where he qualified on merit due to his hard work and perseverance.
“He aspired to be a medical doctor and he would say if he did not take the engineering route, he would become a medical doctor. But it is so sad that his dream could not be fulfilled. He was very helpful, he would motivate his classmates to do their school work,” said Ms Moyo.
She said the ministry’s efforts to address the issue of violence were in vain.
Ms Moyo said pupils from various schools saw each other as enemies and would rather fight as opposed to helping each other academically.
She said it was worrying that even before Wayne was buried, some pupils were mobilising to seek revenge.
“I hear on this very day today; you had planned a very big revenge. Stop it. Instead of mobilising resources, you are mobilising Gifford to come and assist so that you have a big revenge. That revenge is going to lead to another coffin. Revenge is not yours and if you instigate revenge, you will be sorry,” she said.
Ms Moyo said while the school has a learner population of 1 300, one death was one too many.
During the funeral service, one speaker after the other shared their personal experience of how kind Wayne was.
His grandmother recounted how when he visited her at her rural home in Chivi, Masvingo, he became the darling of the community by fixing faulty inverters for villagers.
It is unusual that a minor is granted a State-assisted funeral, but the Government saw it fit to accord him that status.
As a performer and dancer, he probably never thought one of the biggest crowds he could pull would be at his funeral service.
At the funeral service held at Founders High School, it became clear that inter-schools’ gang related violence is a problem and solutions were needed urgently.
Primary and Secondary Education Ministry officials highlighted that they had been trying to deal with the problem, engaging the police and schools on what seemed to be endemic in schools.
Wayne’s father, Mr Simiko Ndlovu, made an extraordinary appeal to officials to hold his son’s burial service at the school in a bid to bring closure to other learners and to send a message to pupils about the dire consequences of violence.
The Government acceded to his request and a funeral service was held at the school’s courtyard.
Mr Ndlovu was the first to address the mourners and paid tribute to his son, describing him as a brave boy.
He was nicknamed “Major” by his colleagues at school.
“We are here to celebrate the life of my son, Wayne Ndlovu, also known as Major,” Mr Ndlovu. “I was surprised. I didn’t know that he was also known here as Major. I would have nicknamed him the doctor. I don’t know, maybe he was also considering joining the army. It’s quite befitting esiNdebeleni bathikibo kwagwala akula siliso (cowards live to fight another day), we are here because Wayne was not a coward, that is why we are mourning.”
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Mr Ndlovu said his death had been difficult to take for his family, but he hoped it would mark an end to the interschool’s violence culture in Bulawayo.
He said he witnessed his son’s life slipping away after the Hamilton High School pupil stabbed him on the neck, damaging his right jugular vein.
“If Jesus died and unified people, I would like to believe Wayne’s death is also going to unify us,” Mr Ndlovu.
“I have seen different school omnibuses here despite the fact that there has been this violence going on. “May I please take this time to say no to violence, no more violence be it school based or gender based or whatever. No more violence, please.
“Boys and girls don’t even think about revenge; the battle is not yours. If you want to take this physically, your fingers are going to get burnt. This is a spiritual thing, if you fail to discern it and get carried away you are going to have a serious problem in your life.”
Mr Ndlovu said there is a need for pupils to focus on their core-business in schools as opposed to grouping to commit violent acts.
“We don’t condone violence. For his sake, my sake and yours, no to violence. We want schools to go back to their core business. Schools are institutions of learning, our children come here with great ambitions, and they should pack books and pens. Let’s make sure of this, no bottles of Two Keys, screw drivers, scissors and okapi knives. Violence does not solve anything,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube said: “I am here representing the President, His Excellency E.D Mnangagwa. I am bringing his condolence messages following the death of a young person who could have been a cornerstone of building Zimbabwe.
“We have lost a future leader, a future professional who was going to contribute to the development of the nation. I extend the President’s condolence message as well as the Government.”
She said it was devastating to learn about Wayne’s death, particularly as the matter involved minors.
“Let’s do good things so that other provinces can come and borrow a leaf from Bulawayo province. Now instead of having a child growing up to be called mister, he would be labelled a murderer and this is painful. Do us proud as a nation, do us proud as a province,” said Minister Ncube.
Wayne was buried at Umvutsha Cemetery on the outskirts of the city.