Boy impaled on broken chair

Scuffle at school ends in tragedy

11 March 2019 | Health

The family of Fortune Akawa (15) and the Oshana education directorate hope that an operation on 22 March will enable Akawa to return to school.

Akawa, a grade 8 leaner at the Ongwediva Control Combined School, has been studying at home since a freak accident at the Oshakati West Primary School in October last year.

Akawa, who was a class monitor, was impaled on a broken chair while intervening in a squabble between his classmates.

According to his mother, Sara Johannes, her son was brought home by a teacher on 8 October last year. The teacher told her that he had tripped and fallen onto the exposed metal frame of a chair with a broken backrest.

He had been called to settle an argument between some of his classmates and was allegedly pushed by one of the other boys.

“She [the teacher] said Akawa fell onto the chair iron with his full weight. It stabbed him through his anus and pierced through his stomach and protruded from it, injuring his intestines and causing blood to pour from his anus.” Johannes said.

His mother took him to the local clinic and he was rushed to the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital in an ambulance. “He was taken for surgery that same day. After the treatment he could not pass bowel movements and they inserted an artificial bowel sphincter.”





Since then he has been in and out of hospital and cannot attend school.

Johannes said Akawa returned to school in November to write examinations and was promoted to grade 8.

He was enrolled at Ongwediva Control Combined School in January but after a few days the principal called a meeting with Johannes.

“When the school started I informed the school principal about his condition. They accepted him and his condition, but later they invited me to school and told me that it was better for him to continue his education from home,” Johannes said.

She fetches his assignments from school every day and returns them for marking.

The education inspector for Ompundja Circuit, Hofni Kapolo, said he was aware of Akawa's situation.

“This is a very difficult situation and we had never experienced it before. The boy has an artificial bowel sphincter that needs to be emptied from time to time.

“The problem is that the school has no pit latrine toilets and they cannot discharge the waste into a flush toilet,” said Kapolo.

“I was informed that after the meeting with the boy's parent they reached an agreement that the boy would continue his schooling from home. The policy makes it clear that if a learner has a contagious condition they can stay home until they are better.”

Kapolo said he was informed that Akawa would undergo another operation this month and hopefully he would then be able to return to school.

Johannes said she was unemployed and struggling to provide her son with the diet prescribed by his doctor. He only eats soft foods and liquids to minimise the pressure on his intestines.

Earlier this month Esser Shilimela of the charity organisation ESBA Pendukeni Foundation visited Akawa and his family and donated food and N$3 000 in cash toward his medical expenses.

“All I wish for is for the boy to get well and I keep following up on him and his well-being. If he is still not well after this operation and something needs to be done, I am willing to help out,” Shilimela said.

ILENI NANDJATO