Durban – A promising Durban High School scholarship pupil died this week after possibly contracting meningitis.
Madodandile Mavaleliso’s illness became apparent on Thursday during a match against Hoërskool Transvalia, from Gauteng, at a rugby festival hosted by Glenwood High School.
Life Entabeni Hospital confirmed that the 14-year-old had been admitted.
“On arrival, the boy’s condition was critical, and he was in a coma. He later died, despite all efforts of the medical team,” said spokeswoman Leanne Nyiri.
He was from Port Elizabeth.
Nyiri said that, as a precaution, all who had been in contact with him had been given prophylactic treatment.
The festival, involving 46 schools, will remember Mavaleliso with a minute’s silence at 11.30am today during a break between matches. DHS has since withdrawn its teams – the Under 14A, the Under 15A in which Mavaleliso was playing, and the Under 16 – said acting principal Marie Vermaak.
The festival will continue, said Glenwood principal Trevor Kershaw.
Vermaak said DHS had also withdrawn from Maritzburg College’s 150th anniversary festival. The boy’s death had been devastating for the DHS community, she said.
“He had arrived at the school a determined young man, highly motivated, courteous and respectful,” she said.
DHS head of sport Marc Adam, who was Mavaleliso’s rugby coach last year when he was in the Under 14A, said he first met “Madoda” at the Ezee Fana Academy in September 2011.
“He was a Grade 7 boy playing Sevens rugby on a rock-hard, dusty township field in Port Elizabeth. He was obviously an extremely gifted rugby player, and it was immediately evident that he had ‘something special’.
“As I got to know him over the next two years at DHS, that ‘something special’ became clearer and clearer,” he said.
Vermaak went on to say that the tragedy had put DHS through “a very difficult and very sad time”.
“We are blessed to have so many wonderful people giving unstintingly of their expertise, help, love and support to us in our time of need.”
The school was offering trauma counselling. Anyone in need of it could contact Bryan Adam at 083 282 2792.
Meanwhile, the cause of Mavaleliso’s death is being investigated.
“The attending doctors suspected bacterial meningitis (meningococcal septicaemia), but are unable to confirm the diagnosis,” the hospital said. “The incident has been reported to eThekwini’s officer for communicable diseases.”
This week, Springbok and Stormers rugby player Schalk Burger was diagnosed as having contracted bacterial meningitis.
Bacterial meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
Independent on Saturday