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School CP - October 2005

Corpun file 16789

Times of Swaziland, 11 October 2005

Mhlatane students made to dig trees

By Musa Nhleko

Beaten on their hands and made to dig trees: Swazi high school students
PIGG'S PEAK - Some of the six students of Mhlatane High School captured uprooting trees as punishment for their antics. (Pic : Albert Masango)

PIGGS PEAK – As if to directly challenge the recently launched Save the Children Swaziland programme of ending corporal punishment in the country six students are presently digging trees at Mhlatane High School.

According to sources close to the matter two female students and six boys doing Form IV and Form V respectively were punished for being suspected of drinking alcohol after school on their way to their respective homes two weeks ago.

This resulted in the school having them dig up tree stumps within the school as punishment.


Two of the girls that formed part of the punished students were released back to class last Wednesday and the ones presently serving the punishment are the boys.

One other girl who is said to have misbehaved at the girls hostel was found scrubbing a hard surface in the school, with her bare knees on the concrete ground.

The source said the students were suspected to have gone drinking by the boarding master after they had been instructed to take invitation cards for the speech and prize-giving day to their parents.

The students are said to have organised a kombi to ferry them to their respective homes and it is said that after they had left, the boarding master later asked other students if the students that were in the kombi were drinking alcohol.

“The following Monday all the students who were in the kombi were called and were punished by three teachers who are in the disciplinary committee.

“They were beaten on their hands and later sent out to dig a number of trees that the head teacher had earlier on pointed out that he wanted removed. He did not say how these trees should be removed until the male students were punished to dig them out,” said the source.


The six boys have been left to dig more than six trees in the schoolyard and have been able to dig out three trees so far.

“They have been told that they should not return to until they finish digging up the trees,” said the source.

The school Head Teacher, Simeon Makhubu, did not want to comment on the issue and instead said, “You people from the Times do not do not like to see me working in the best interest of the school.”


Save the Children – Swaziland Information Officer Elizabeth Kgololo said, “It is a pity that recently in this country, we did a research on corporal punishment and after that we trained teachers and career guidance teachers on issues surrounding corporal punishment.

If what you have just told me is true this is totally not acceptable.

“My plea would be for head teachers to follow the laid down rules when applying corporal punishment to scholars.

“This is a challenge to us and I think we have to engage the school you have mentioned to alternative ways of discipline,” she said.

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