Terrified Pupil Locked In Classroom For Three Days

A five-year-old boy was found naked and covered in paint following three days locked in a classroom after teachers insisted they had no idea where he was.

Masonwabe Mapolisa, 5, poses in undated photo. Authorities searched for him after he went missing from Friday, May 12, 2023, until he was found naked locked in a classroom at JA Ncaca Primary School n Cradock, South Africa, on Monday, May 15, 2023 . (Newsflash)

His distraught mother reportedly spent the whole weekend looking for Masonwabe Mapolisa after he failed to come home on Friday, 12th May, before he was eventually found three days later, naked and with paint on his head in one of the classrooms at his school.

The young boy was found at the JA Ncaca Primary School in Cradock, in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, on Monday, 15th May, by his mother, named as Disedo Somatamba, from Michausda, and by a police detective assigned to the case.

This is despite Somatamba having contacted a teacher at the school on Friday and having been told that they could not find her boy, according to local media.

Somatamba reportedly added: “I then went to another location and asked if they had seen him, but they hadn’t. I went all over, and I think it was 10pm and my husband and I hired a car which took us to the police station to report a missing person.”

The mother and the police continued to search for the boy on Saturday but failed to locate him.

The same day, the mother and the police detective asked another teacher if she had seen her son.

The mother said: “She told me she was the last person who locked the doors and the gate of the school and there was no one there at the time.”

The mum and the police officer then convinced the teacher to look for her son at the school again.

But the mum said: “I think she went and checked, but she didn’t open the doors, she just checked through the windows and insisted there was no one.”

Picture shows JA Ncaca Primary School in Cradock, South Africa undated. Authorities searched for Masonwabe Mapolisa, 5, after he went missing from Friday, May 12, 2023, until he was found naked locked in a classroom at the school on Monday, May 15, 2023 . (Google Maps/Newsflash)

On Sunday, the police officer and the mother continued looking for Masonwabe, to no avail, before deciding that they would go to the school themselves on Monday morning.

Somatamba said: “While one teacher was praying for us, the other came running and screaming that they found the boy.”

The young boy was reportedly taken to a local hospital by one of the teachers.

Masonwabe was then airlifted to the Dora Nginza Hospital in Nelson Mandela Bay and is in critical condition, according to local media.

His mum said that his legs were “very dark”, adding: “They found the boy naked in class and there was paint all over his head. They didn’t tell me why he was naked.”

She also said that she could not find her child’s jacket or shoes, which he had been wearing when he had left home on Friday, according to local media.

It is currently unclear who locked him in the classroom and how he ended up covered in paint.

The police investigation is ongoing, with the Eastern Cape Department of Education also said to be investigating.

Eastern Cape education department spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima told local media: “We are still gathering information and will issue a statement in due course. Our team is at the school with the district investigating team.”