Zimbabwe Daily News
Date: 30th July 2002

Headmaster flees as hysteria grips school

Staff Reporter

THE headmaster of St Mark’s Secondary School in Mhondoro has fled the school following accusations by parents that he possesses goblins which have sexually harassed female students and teachers.

Last Wednesday, the school was closed over the allegations which have sent shock-waves throughout the rural community.

Angry parents were on Tuesday collecting their children from the school, demanding to see the headmaster, who was understood to have fled the school.

Reporters arriving at the school heard female students and teachers complain of sexual harassment and of being beaten up by "invisible objects".

Most students had by late Wednesday afternoon left the school while the remaining few could be seen milling around, waiting for their parents to come and take them home. Teachers said those affected by the activities of the alleged goblins would behave in a strange manner, characterised by hysteria.

"I witnessed one incident when a student went into a trance," said a teacher who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

"He was demanding meat, threatening that after finishing with the students, the spirits would attack the teachers next. We are living in fear here."

The incidents have disrupted the mid-year examinations which were in progress at the school. Schools are due to close for holidays on 1 August.

The school’s deputy headmaster was evasive about the alleged evil spirits at the school and referred all questions to the regional offices of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture in Chegutu.

"As far as we are concerned, things are normal here. We will still carry on with lessons with the remaining students and life goes on," he said.

The deputy headmaster would not allow his name to be published because of Public Services regulations.

Ignatius Angara, the District Education Officer for Mhondoro, confirmed the incidents had been reported to their offices.

"We have heard that the children are praying about it, but I can’t really say much.

We are still investigating" said Angara. Reverend Rinashe of the Anglican Church, which runs the school, said there was no need for all the panic.

He said: "Everything is now back to normal and I understand lessons have resumed." But some of the teachers said it was highly unlikely that lessons would continue as schools were about to close soon anyway.

The mysterious incidents started about six weeks ago when students complained of being harassed by "mysterious beings" during the night, believed to be goblins, known in Shona as zvikwambo, mubobobo or as tokoloshe in Zulu.

"About 30 students have been victims of the attacks and we can’t bear spending another night at this haunted place," said a student.

"A friend of mine was bitten on the arm after she wrestled with a ghost which wanted to sleep with her," she said.

A number of female teachers are reportedly contemplating leaving the school.

The teachers put some of their allegations in writing for the benefit of reporters. They allege they are being sexually abused by mysterious entities at night.

"Sometimes we get up in the morning to find the bedding mysteriously wet and we suspect foul play," says the statement.

One teacher said at the height of the incidents, many students joined the school’s Scripture Union (SU) group where they held regular prayer meetings in the hope the evil spirits would be exorcised.

The headmaster was allegedly annoyed with this development. He is said to have acted against the SU.

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