Friday, August 5, 2016


An eight-year-old schoolboy in Swaziland was thrashed so hard in class he vomited. It is feared he might have internal bleeding as a result.

And, his teacher forced classmates to hold the boy down while he whipped him with a stick.

It happened at Siyendle Primary School, near Gege, the Times of Swaziland reported on Thursday (4 August 2016).

A group of schoolboys had been inflating condoms when they were discovered by the teacher.

The Times reported, ‘When the teacher saw what the boys were doing, he is said to have reacted by telling other pupils to hold the one who had the condom in his hands so that he could deal with him. Apparently, he thrashed the eight-year-old so badly that the pupil began to throw up in the presence of his classmates.

‘The boy’s parents suspect that the child suffered internal injuries, which might have caused his reaction.’

Schoolchildren in Swaziland are regularly subjected to fierce corporal punishment. In a report in 2011, Save the Children said school students were being ‘tortured’. In a submission to the United Nations review on human rights in Swaziland it said Mhlatane High School in northern Swaziland had ‘institutionalised’ corporal punishment.

‘Teachers can administer as many strokes [of the cane] as they desire, much against the limit stipulated in the regulations from the Ministry of Education,’ Save the Children reported.

‘Students at this school are also subjected to all forms of inhumane treatment in the name of punishment. The State has known about the torture of students that go on at Mhlatane High School for a long time, but has not done anything to address this violation of fundamental rights.’

It cited Mhlatane as the worst case, but said excessive corporal punishment was rife in Swazi schools.

It reported, ‘The hitting of students by teachers in schools is not limited to strokes of the cane, but includes such methods as a slap with the open hand, kicks and fists.

‘In one case in a school in the south of Swaziland, a young girl was kicked in the groin by her teacher after she refused to lift up her leg during physical education classes. She had told the teacher she cannot lift her leg up because she was wearing nothing underneath. This angered the teacher and earned the girl a kick in the groin.

‘The damage occasioned led to paralysis as the girl walks with difficulty today, and her menstrual cycle was disturbed since then. Although initially protected by the principal and other Ministry of Education officials in Nhlangano, the teacher was eventually arrested after intervention by the girl’s elder sister.’

There had been 4,556 cases of ‘severe corporal punishment’ of children in Swaziland’s schools over the past four years, an international news organisation reported in March 2016.

Star Africa quoted Zanele Thabede from youth group Super Buddies, who leads a team looking into youth and child issues, who in an interview said the number of whippings dated from 2012.

Star Africa reported Thabede saying, ‘Corporal punishment by teachers and principals is legal and routinely practiced and there is a growing trend of incarcerating of children and youth in the Malkerns Industrial School for Rehabilitation because of “unruly” behaviour.’

There is confusion in Swaziland as to whether corporal punishment has been banned in schools. It is believed that a directive was issued to schools in 2012 not to use corporal punishment but few teachers appear to know it had been made.

The Times of Swaziland reported in October 2015 that Phineas Magagula, Minister of Education and Training, warned that teachers who beat pupils should be reported to the ministry so that they could be disciplined.

As recently as June 2016 it was reported that a 20-year-old female school student had been given nine strokes of the cane on her buttocks at Herefords High School by the male principal. Police were informed.

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