By Takunda Maodza
A sixteen year old Mutare Girls’ High pupils was found with mbanje — traceable to Ghana — and whisky at school last week in an incident that could underline the extent drug abuse has permeated the country’s education sector.
It is still a mystery how the girl (whose name cannot be published) sourced marijuana from the West African country.
It could not be established too how many times she had sneaked both the whisky-spiced drink and the drug into the school premises and the extent it had affected other pupils.
Mutare Girls High School head Mrs Tendai Patricia Matongera was tight-lipped when The Herald sought a comment over the incident.
She referred all questions on the matter to her superiors at the district education office in Mutare.
Mutare District Schools Inspector Mr Creezin Chofamba confirmed the incident.
“It is true there is a child who was withdrawn by a guardian from the school,” he said. “She will go to a day school where they will be able to monitor her.
“She was found with some items that include whisky-spiced drink and mbanje. The mbanje was well packaged and the labels on it showed it originated from Ghana.”
The pupil frequently visits her parents in South Africa and only enrolled at Mutare Girls High for Form One.
“The history of this girl is that her parents are in South Africa,” said Mr Chofamba. “She often visits them in South Africa. She did her primary school in South Africa and only came to Zimbabwe when she was doing Form One.
“Her exposure is wide. The kind of drugs found in her possession were not home-made. The mbanje was packaged in Ghana and its labels showed it originated from Ghana. We will try to find out how widespread it (drug abuse) had gone.”
Efforts to get a comment from the police were fruitless.
Manicaland Provincial Education director Mr Edward Shumba clarified why the pupil was not expelled from school, but rather withdrawn.
“We do not dismiss the pupil. We exclude her. This means we remove her from Mutare Girls High and ask her parents to place her at another school for a second chance,” he said.
Mr Shumba said transferring the offender to another school was enough punishment.
“If we remove her she learns that what she did was wrong and at the same time we are sending the message loud and clear that if you indulge in drug abuse you leave your school,” he said. Drug abuse is rampant in South African schools and research shows the average age of drug experimentation in that country is 12 years old. The Herald