By- Parents Monday besieged and disrupted learning at Hotsprings Secondary School in Chimanimani, baying for the blood of two teachers and accusing them of initiating more than 23 students into satanism.
Police had to be deployed to the school as the angry parents protested and shouted profanities at the two teachers (names withheld).
The arrival of the police did not deter the angry mob from picketing and they ended up surrounding the police truck, demanding their arrest.
“We will not leave. We are paying school fees for our children enrolled at this school, so it is our right to demand the safety of our children here. We are prepared to be arrested,” shouted the protesters.
Weekender understands that since Sunday, learners at the school have been experiencing unexplained phenomena, including throwing themselves on the ground and uttering inaudible words.
Ms Netsai Kudana of Nemutenzi Village believes that the two teachers are behind the strange phenomena affecting learners, parents and teachers at the school.
She said her brother’s 15-year-old daughter, whom she stays with, had manifested the previous day, together with four other girls at one of the teachers’ houses.
“My niece is struggling to walk since yesterday (Sunday) when she manifested and slithered like a snake. We are clueless on how to assist her, the teachers involved should give us the answers.
“It all started yesterday morning when we heard that my niece’s classmate was manifesting at the school’s staff quarters.
“People gathered to witness the drama. At least four girls were writhing on the ground and uttering inaudible words. My niece then fell to the ground and started slithering like a snake. Her classmate said she is part of the group that was initiated into satanism by their teacher,” said Ms Kudana.
Mr Maxwell Macheza said his daughter was the first one to manifest during a church service.
“It happened at church and we decided to take her to the teacher’s house. She said the teacher (name provided) was directing her to kill her mother and offer her as a sacrifice to the cult.
“She said they were initiated through sweets. Apparently, this teacher sells sweets at the school. At least five learners manifested yesterday. They all claimed that there are three snakes in the teacher’s house. They also claimed that there is a clay pot with their names in the teacher’s house,” said Mr Macheza.
Acting Chief Mutambara sent a message that a traditional leader was ready to assist the affected learners at his place.
As soon as that message was relayed, more children started manifesting, throwing themselves to the ground, screaming and begging to be spared by the teacher.
Said Mr Macheza: “We will not take our children to the chief’s place. The chief should come here and solve the matter because it is happening at this school. We will not leave until our children recover from these attacks.”
A School Development Committee member, Mrs Gloria Machaya, accused the school head, a Mr Matsikure, of working in connivance with the two teachers.
“We asked Chief Mutambara to second a traditional healer to the school and he had agreed, but the school headmaster, Mr Matsikure, called the chief in our presence. He did not know that the chief’s phone was on loud speaker and he told him that he suspected that everything was being stage managed.
“He said the learners were faking everything. That is why Chief Mutambara asked us to bring the children to his place,” said Ms Machaya.
In an interview on Tuesday, Manicaland Provincial Education Director, Mr Edward Shumba confirmed the skirmishes at the school.
He, however, said finding a lasting solution to the issue is beyond their jurisdiction as the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
“I understand that there is an alleged satanism case at Hotsprings Secondary School, but unfortunately the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education does not deal with such matters. We are educationists and we have no regulation to deal with such cases.
“These community issues should be dealt with at community level,” said Mr Shumba.
He said he was yet to receive a report on whether lessons at the school were disrupted by the irate parents.
Acting Chief Mutambara said he is still waiting to be appraised by the SDC as he had instructed them to bring the affected learners to his place so that he can deal with the matter.
“I can second a traditional or spiritual healer to help them there but we had agreed that the children should be brought to my homestead for assistance. However, that was not done on Monday. I will wait to hear from the parents on the way forward,” he said.
On Tuesday, the parents besieged the school again, insisting that teachers should be transferred.