Murdered Pietermaritzburg schoolboy died 'defending a young girl'
When Hershall Fynn left home to go to school, he did so with a promise to his mother: he would study hard and give her a better life.
But the 18-year-old's promise will never come to fruition, because Fynn was fatally stabbed outside his school in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.
“I still can't believe it, I still need to take it in. I still think he will come home," said his mom, Natalie Fynn, on Wednesday. "I felt so sad and he told me that he would do everything for me, he would finish his matric and have just gotten his learner's licence. He always used to say, ‘Don't worry, mommy, I am gonna make everything right for you'."
According to Roy Ram, governing body chairperson at Eastwood Secondary School, where Fynn was in 'grade 11, the boy was killed after he defended a girl who was being stabbed during a matric school-leaving tradition which turned violent on Monday.
The girl is being treated in hospital from her wounds.
On Monday, Fynn defended the girl, but wasn't harmed. However, Ram said that on Tuesday, the boys he confronted then approached him as he was heading home from school.
They [the perpetrators] came with knives and bush knives to attack the boy because he asked, 'Why did you have to do this to a woman?' He died a hero because he was defending a young girl,” said Ram.
Ram said that the tradition, known as "bombing", had caused major havoc in the school and had previously resulted in the arrest of 40 pupils. The tradition involves matrics throwing eggs, among other things, to signify their last day at school before they start writing their final exams.
KZN police spokesperson Brig Jay Naicker said police were investigating a case of murder as well as attempted murder after two groups had allegedly fought.
"Mountain Rise police are still investigating the circumstances," said Naicker.
Natalie described her son, who was the youngest of six, as a kind and caring boy who had a passion for soccer.
"Every day it was the same thing. He would say, 'Bye mommy, I love you.' That's how it was every day. Even at night, before he went to sleep, he would say, ‘I love you’," she said.
Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu visited the Eastwood community on Wednesday. He had strong words for the community about their involvement in school safety.
"I want to tell all of you, there is no family that will succeed without its young kids and the success of the community starts with the family. So we can’t build a successful community of Eastwood if we at a family level are not intact,” said Mshengu.