Lack of schools fuels child marriages in Tsholotsho

Source: Lack of schools fuels child marriages in Tsholotsho – The Southern Eye

A NUMBER of girls in some parts of Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, are failing to proceed to Form 1 as there are a few secondary schools in the district, with those available several kilometres away.

A visit to Tsholotsho recently by Southern Eye Weekender revealed that girls account for the largest percentage of school dropouts, with many being forced into early marriages.



Ward 1 councillor, Witness Khumalo, said some schools were located about 25 kilometres away.

“The nearest school that we have here is Samahuru Secondary which is about 25km from Gibixhegu line,” Khumalo said.

Ward 1 consists of Zilingane, Sodaka and Gibixhegu line areas.



“This is a huge crisis because what we realise is that after completing Grade 7, our children fail to proceed to Form 1 mainly because the schools are far away and few.

“They are being denied the basic right to education as a result.”

According to Khumalo, villagers in the ward have begun mobilising resources to construct a secondary school.

“We are in the process of constructing Zimwatudwa Secondary School to cut the walking distance for our children,” he said.



“We are also using proceeds from the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) projects.”

Campfire is a community-based natural resource management programme established in 1988 to enable communities to benefit directly from the wildlife in their area.

It was designed to give control of wildlife management to rural communities so that they invest in wildlife and habitat conservation and in turn receive dividends.

A villager at Gibixhegu line, Leonard Mpofu, said their children were condemned to perpetual poverty after dropping out of school.

“There are so many of them who no longer have any future besides engaging in early marriages, drug and substance abuse,” Mpofu said.

Another villager Mehluli Sibanda said some learners were forced to skip school fearing attacks by wild animals roaming in communities in search of food and water.

“I am 40 years old and have five children. I dropped out of school because of such conditions thatare beyond my control,” Sibanda said.

Tsholotsho acting chief executive officer Mbonisi Ncube said the council was aware of the shortages of schools in the district.

“We are, however, trying our best to balance with service delivery,” he said.A

“We are using funds from Campfire projects, devolution and council revenues to complete some projects to build schools closer to communities.”