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Lupane Non-Ndebele School Head Impasse Takes New Twist

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Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora Primary and Secondary Education Minister Lazarus Dokora

By Judith Sibanda

 

Lupane, June 26, 2016 – THE drawn-out dispute between Lupane villagers and Education Ministry officials over the continued presence of a non-Ndebele speaking head at a local secondary school persisted this past week with parents now threatening to withdraw their children from the learning institution.

 

There were also conflicting reports the embattled headmistress of Mlamuli Secondary School, one Ms Bonyongwe had finally decided to leave the school after villagers have continued to pile on the pressure on her to pack and go.

 

Villagers accuse the head, among some non-Ndebele speaking educators deployed in local schools, of stifling the teaching of the language. 

 

Parents with children attending Mlamuli Secondary School have been trying to force Bonyongwe out of the school since last year without any success.

 

Primary and Secondary Education ministry officials in the district have been accused of protecting Bonyongwe. 

 

According to secessionist Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) spokesperson Mpiyezwe Zwelethu Mconywa, there were indications that the headmistress had actually thrown in the towel after parents threatened to withdraw their children from the school.

 

“We are pleased to announce that Bonyongwe is finally leaving Mlamuli for good after a resolution was made on Thursday the 23rd of June at a full parents meeting,” Mconywa said in statement.

 

“The parents resolved that as from  Monday the 27th of June, there will not be any lessons at the school and unanimously agreed not to send their children to the school until Bonyongwe ceases to masquerade as the head of this school. 

 

“It has been a long struggle to remove Ms Bonyongwe from the School since January 2016.” 

 

Mnconywa said his party believed the deployment of non-Ndebele speaking teachers in Matabeleland North was an attempt to ensure that locals missed out on education opportunities.

 

“More and more teaching posts are being taken up by Shona college graduates and appointments of Shona school heads has already been won,” he claimed.

 

“Students/pupils in all schools in that part of the country will, in the not too distant future be mostly Shona. 

 

“We must not forget what Nathan Shamuyarira once observed in the 1979 Grand Plan ‘The only way to weaken the Ndebele is to deprive him of an education’." 

 

“Ndebeles are not welcome in Lupane and the few that are there remain frustrated, no promotion while Shonas come and go and most of the time they are deployed just to get a good curriculum vitae before they are deployed to Bulawayo at the expense of locals.

“As MRP we support the resolution taken by the Lupane community to suspend school lessons until the government removes Bonyongwe at Mlamuli Secondary School and we are keen to see whether the government through the Ministry of Education will continue protecting Bonyonge at the expense of the parents and their children who are not benefitting positively on the presence of her at this school.”

However, Matabeleland North regional education director, Boithatelo Mnguni said she was not aware of the threats by parents saying she believed the problems at the school had long been resolved.

“I am not aware of that because the issue had already been settled,” she said.

“The minister, Lazarus Dokora addressed the issue at Fatima Secondary School a couple of months ago and the School Development Committee together with the head agreed to work together. 

“We haven't received such news (of threats to boycott classes) in our office.” 

Several chiefs from Matabeleland have in the past complained about the deployment of non-Ndebele teachers in the region saying it retarded the growth of the education sector. 

 

Some of the outspoken chiefs on the matter are Chief Mabhikwa of Lupane and Chief Ndiweni of Matobo.

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