‘Tribalist’ school head defended

By Andile Tshuma

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has dismissed allegations that Magwegwe High School headmaster Mr William Ncube banned the singing of Shona songs at his school. 

Mr William Ncube

Bulawayo Acting Provincial Education Director (PED) Mrs Olicah Kaira said investigations had proved that the allegations were false.

In an anonymous open letter that went viral on social media platforms, the school head was accused of having banned pupils from singing Shona songs or war cries during sports events or at assembly.

Mrs Kaira said the allegations, which she described as damaging, emanated from a divisive politically motivated individual, judging by the tone of the letter.

“We have done the necessary investigations and established that Mr Ncube addressed a team of pupils in a bus going for provincial sporting events at the White City Stadium. He encouraged pupils to show that Bulawayo, as a metropolitan province is diverse and do that through song and dance, in line with the new curriculum. He advised pupils to sing in all the 16 official languages, especially in preparation for the national competitions which will be held at the same venue,” she said.

The Acting PED also dismissed claims that she had banned the use of the Shona language in the province.

“It is saddening to note that we have such elements in society and such accusations are unfortunate, untrue, damaging, unfounded and malicious. We are carrying out further investigations to try and get to the source of the document,” she said.

Mrs Kaira also said the ministry was not convinced that the document was penned by pupils.“I went to Magwegwe High School myself on Friday to get to the bottom of the matter and judging by the strong political language, that letter was written by a mature person with a sound political mind and just wanted to hide behind being a child. I have since submitted a report to the Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango,” said Mrs Kaira.

She urged the community not to abuse children and to desist from politically and ethnically divisive talk in the presence of young children. “Our pupils are quite young. We deal with people from Early Childhood Development up to Upper Six. We want our schools to groom future leaders who will know that they are home in any part of the country and can take up opportunities anywhere. The source could be an unruly element in our midst with a dirty motive, and we are not in support of that,” added the acting PED. The Chronicle