Sorghum will be confiscated from three boarding schools due to pupils fermenting a ‘potent alcoholic mixture’
Breakfast cereal has been banned from some boarding schools in Zimbabwe because pupils were using it to brew beer, it was reported this week.
The country’s Chronicle newspaper said at least three schools in the south of the country had warned parents that oats and cereal made of sorghum would be confiscated when term began on Tuesday.
“Pupils reportedly mix the cereals with brown sugar and yeast and leave the mixture to ferment in the sun, creating a potent alcoholic mixture which the pupils drink right under the noses of school authorities,” noted the paper.
It said Tennyson Hlabangana high school in Bulawayo sent text messages to parents notifying them that Morvite powdered cereal and oatmeal porridge would no longer be allowed at the school.
An unnamed parent was quoted saying: “We received messages advising us not to buy Morvite when buying groceries for our children. After conducting our investigations we established that the cereal was being fermented into alcohol.”
Michael Dube, a chemist, told the Chronicle that the illicit brew could be harmful. “The danger of doing this is that there is no method to control the alcohol content,” he said. “Their beer might have high alcohol levels, which may be a threat to their health.”
Under-age drinking is a growing concern in Zimbabwe. Last month police in Bulawayo arrested 224 pupils – some as young as 13 – attending a “vuzu” party in which alcohol is consumed on the outskirts of the city.
“Youths are said to abuse alcohol and drugs at the parties,” reported the Chronicle. “Pupils whose parents are in the diaspora often host the lavish parties.”