Third pupil commits suicide this term

By Whinsley Masara

A FORM One pupil at Pumula High School in Bulawayo allegedly committed suicide by hanging yesterday, the third such incident in Bulawayo this term.

Brightness Thebe

Brightness Thebe (15) from Magwegwe West suburb had not been attending lessons prior to her hanging.

Bulawayo Metropolitan Provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Precious Simango confirmed the incident.

“We received a case of sudden death by hanging of a 15-year-old female. She had a misunderstanding with her mother following her refusal to attend school leading to the mother beating her up,” said Insp Simango.

She said while at work yesterday, the mother received information that her daughter had hanged herself.

“The body was discovered by a tenant hanging from a mango tree in their yard, said Insp Simango.

Ms Zenzele Dlamini, an employee at Hillside Teachers College, said her daughter had been refusing to attend school since last term.

“Last term, the school authorities called me over that matter. I took her to my sister’s place in Makokoba suburb where we counselled her on the importance of education.

“It seems this did not change her attitude towards school and just last week the school authorities called me again. This time teachers said she had been absent for eight days,” she said.

Ms Dlamini said on Tuesday she once again persuaded her daughter to attend school and she thought everything was fine.

“This morning I actually woke her up as usual to lock the doors as I left for work. At around 8AM, I received a phone call informing me that Brightness was dead. She had hanged herself.”

The late pupil’s aunt, Sikhangele Dlamini said they were shocked by her death.

“Her mother was alerted by school authorities last term that she was not attending school and only last week they called again to complain about the same problem,” said the aunt. She said the girl’s mother beat her up on Tuesday night to force her to attend school.

Two weeks ago, a Form Four pupil at Mzingwane High School in Matabeleland South allegedly hanged himself, fearing disciplinary action over alleged theft.

He hanged himself from the roof trusses of a disused boiler room behind the school hostels using his belt.

Last month, a Form Four pupil from Mbuyazwe Secondary School in Umguza District also hanged himself after quarrelling with his mother who had chided him for bullying his younger brother.

He allegedly hanged himself on a tree with a piece of wire near his school, just a few metres from his home.

In August last year, a Form Two pupil at Silveira High School in Bikita allegedly committed suicide after being bullied by a schoolmate.

The body of the 14-year-old was found hanging from a beam of a building at the Roman Catholic-run school. Some said he committed suicide after being threatened by a fellow pupil who claimed to own a big snake that he intended to use in harming him, in a suspected Satanism threat.

In October 2017, a Grade Six pupil at Mckeurtan Primary School in Bulawayo also allegedly hanged himself from a tree in a bushy area between Nketa 8 and Emganwini suburbs at an apostolic sect shrine, some distance from his home.

The pupil was a relative to Nomakhwezi Mzaca Nkomo (14), a pupil at Townsend High School who had hanged herself a month earlier at her family home in Sunninghill suburb after her mother ordered her to do her homework before watching South African soapie, Generations: The Legacy, on television.

Again in November last year, an Upper Six pupil from Sizane High School in Bulawayo allegedly tried to commit suicide twice after she was caught cheating in a Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) Biology paper 3 examination.

Bulawayo acting Provincial Education Director, Mrs Olicah Kaira said yesterday that Brightness was the third pupil in Bulawayo to commit suicide this term.

“The increase in cases of pupils committing suicide is a cause for concern given that schools offer guidance and counselling services,” said Mrs Kaira. The Chronicle