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Crowdfunding & prayers: #Driehoek tragedy brings South Africans together

Roydon Olckers (17), Jandré Steyn (13) and Marli Currie (13) died on scene when a walkway at Hoërskool Driehoek collapsed on Friday, while Marnus Nagel (16) succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

Pupils at Schoonspruit Secondary School formed a cross while praying for those affected by the Hoërskool Driehoek tragedy in Vanderbijlpark. Picture: Sanette Vd Merwe Brits/facebook.com.

CAPE TOWN – What was meant to be an ordinary day of learning at Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark turned into a tragedy last week after four pupils died in a walkway collapse.

Roydon Olckers (17), Jandré Steyn (13) and Marli Currie (13) died on scene while Marnus Nagel (16) later succumbed to his injuries. More than 20 other injured pupils were transported to hospital following the incident.

The pain of the tragedy is being felt across the country, with communities rallying together to support the families of the deceased and injured pupils, as well as their fellow pupils.

On social media, the ‘In Loving Memory of Hoërskool Driehoek people’ page has been launched where South Africans have shared messages of support, prayers and free services to assist grieving pupils and families.

Pupils at Mbhureni Primary School in Limpopo, in Giyani, are seen praying in pictures shared on the page.

Posted by Shivambu Richard on Sunday, 3 February 2019

At Hoërskool Southview in Lenasia pupils and teachers, with heads bowed, formed a circle of prayer in memory of the students. Students at Schoonspruit Secondary School also formed a cross while praying.

Posted by Celeste le Roux on Monday, 4 February 2019

HSkool Schoonspruit praying for HSkool Driehoek

Posted by Sanette Vd Merwe Brits on Monday, 4 February 2019

A mass prayer meeting is also expected to be held to support the families.

A social media user also offered to put together a list of free services, including counselling, for the families and affected pupils. Others have offered to donate blood for the injured, while the biking community has also joined efforts and will have a memorial ride and prayers.

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to support the families of the victims and tombstones are also being donated. By 12:30pm on Tuesday, close to R24,000 had been donated on the funding campaign.

HOPE AND RECOVERY

Tuesday marked four days since the incident. While an investigation is underway, the schooling community and families are still dealing with the aftermath.

Shyna Triter, a pupil, was walking towards the staircase at Hoërskool Driehoek when it collapsed. In an interview with Eyewitness News, Triter recalled the moment the walkway collapsed.

“We didn’t realise what was happening until we saw the bridge on kids. There was blood everywhere. We just ran when we heard screaming.”

WATCH: Hoërskool Driehoek mourns pupils

Pupils, teachers and the families have since received counselling.

Dr Cathy Angus tells Eyewitness News that those affected by the tragedy are likely to experience feelings of disbelief and could also experience physical symptoms.

“There will be physiological effects. They will experience feelings of shock and disbelief, as well as anxiety.”

The ability to deal with anxiety after a tragic event differs from person to person.

Dr Angus explained there is significant trauma to deal with as four students lost their lives.

She added there’s no time frame to counselling, as the number of hours required varies from person to person.

“Their ability to deal with stress will affect how they react to the event.”

Dr Angus has also shared advice on how parents can support their children during this time. She says those affected by the accident, especially the pupils who witnessed the event, might have nightmares.

“Parents should watch out for their children’s reactions, like if a child becomes jumpy at the slightest sound or more bad tempered after the event.”

Useful contacts

South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag): 0800-567-567 or SMS 31393

Mental health hotline: 011-783-1474

Mental Health Information Centre of South Africa: 021-938-9229

Trauma Clinic: 011-403-5102/3

Anxiety and Trauma Clinic: 011-883-4552

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