School of horrors

Daniel Chida
BURNED DOWN: Dormitories

Thugs run riot, striking terror into both teachers and students Four attempted rapes and one death reported

Boarding students at Nthwalang Junior School in Digawana are living in fear of night attacks from thugs who break in at their hostels to subject them to violence and harassment.

The night terrors, which have been ongoing for some time, have so far resulted in four frightening incidents of attempted rape at the girls’ hostels and a burning of the boy’s quarters.

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Adding to the woes of the students has been hallucination by students from Gasita, which has culminated in the tragic death of one student two weeks ago.

The student, who is reported to have fallen sick on a Sunday, was left to go to the clinic alone and collapsed on the way and later died at the hospital.

“We informed teachers that she was not well but they ignored her because she was hallucinating. Instead of escorting her to the clinic, they gave her permission to go to the clinic on her own and, after collapsing, still they didn’t act until Thursday when she got worse. She was taken to the clinic where she was referred to Athlone hospital, where she died,” narrated some of her mates who went on to demonstrate against the ill-treatment of students by the authorities.

However, in an interview with The Voice, a senior teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity said that they, too, like the students, lived in fear of local thugs.

“Former students who are unemployed and loitering in the village trespass into the school premises and carry out criminal activity as they wish. They have attempted to rape some of the girls and even threatened to stab some of the teachers,” he said.

The concerned teacher went on to reveal that the school property was also vandalised so much that for some time now, boarding students have ended up sleeping in hostels which do not have doors and windows.

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“It is not only their safety that is at risk but their health as well,” he said.

For her part, the School Head, Olebile Mokgweetsi, who spoke in the presence of senior management, confirmed the harassment and torture by former students and local gangs.

“We are doing our best to maintain the school premises, including hostels, but they do not last long. In 2021, we erected a new fence but, as we speak, it is all gone. Windows have been broken and doors damaged within a short time,” she said.

Regarding the hallucination and death incident, Mokgweetsi absolved the school of possible negligence.

“It is unfortunate that she died because we never thought she was that sick. Maybe post-mortem will tell us the cause of death,” she said before referring all the questions to Southern Regional Director, Acronews Maseko.

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Confirming that the school was plagued by violence and criminal activity, Maseko said; “I can confirm that we have been facing a lot of challenges with security within the school. We have beefed up security, and one of the guards will be specifically looking after the girl’s hostels. We are aware of what has been happening there, and we are fixing all the damaged property in the school.”

According to Maseko, all the students who were affected have been sent for counselling.

School of horrors
LIVING IN FEAR: Nthwalang Junior School pupils

 

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