Dragged out of bed at midnight, they were made to stand on a school field unsure of what was happening.
Next, a group of 12 matric boys told them to strip naked. A tube of Deep Heat was passed around and they were made to put it on their genitals. This was just the start of an initiation nightmare that left a group of Grade 11 boys at Parktown Boys' High in Joburg too terrified to tell their parents of their ordeal.
After the burning Deep Heat, the boys were made to go- one by one - to a Grade 12 pupil, each of whom held a different object to hit them with. One had a cricket bat, another a hockey stick and yet another a golf club. They went to 11 different matrics, receiving a smack on their backsides, before the head boy lay into every Grade 11 boy with a whip, hitting them on their lower backs and buttocks until he drew blood.
Why did the matrics do this? An initiation ceremony so that the Grade 11s could bring a kettle into their hostel room.
Last night, a Joburg mother, Pene Kimber, took her 17-year-old son out of the hostel because she felt he was being victimised after he told her about the initiation ceremony.
Her son was badly bruised when she saw him a week after the assault, which took place on February 2. He was also cut open where the whip had lashed him. He had not healed five days later and was still bleeding from the attack.
Kimber took her son to Sunninghill Hospital, where a doctor filled in a report. It said her son had "extensive bruising and abrasions consistent with an assault with a blunt object".
Kimber was sent an e-mail by the deputy headmaster, Brent Saunders, who admitted that the Grade 12s had initiated the Grade 11s . "This practice is totally prohibited by management, a fact which has been communicated to the boarders on numerous occasions," the e-mail said.
Another e-mail on Friday detailed the punishment the Grade 12s had received, including counselling, community service, the suspension of Grade 12 privileges for one term and a written warning.
Kimber is worried that her son will be victimised by other boys and teachers at the school.
She said another parent had apparently complained about the incident, and the Grade 11 boys were then made to run 15 laps around the rugby field for "tittle-tattling".
Headmaster Tom Clarke said last night "the boys got up to lunacy and nonsense and have been disciplined".
By Angelique Serrao The Star