A female learner committed suicide in a school toilet at St Mary’s Secondary School in Chikanga, Mutare on Tuesday last week after she had just been reprimanded for her wayward behaviour by her grandmother.
The late 14-year-old Rumbidzai Chimusasa had been warned against bad behaviour by her grandmother, Juliet Mafunga, whom she was staying with.
Mafunga told the press that she had warned Rumbidzai against coming home late and also advised her to ditch some of her close friends. Said Mafunga:
I am not sure if I was supposed to just remain and watch her coming home late as well as continue playing with friends that I knew would be of bad influence on her.
I took her as my own child. I have six children and I am not married. I am a vendor and the least I expected was to be troubled by kids that I work so hard to feed.
On the day she died, I had warned her against playing with some of her naughty friends and told her to stop coming home late. I am not sure if this is what prompted her to commit suicide, but surely was I wrong?
I did not only reprimand her. I also reprimanded my own daughter. My daughter heeded my advice, so I do not know whether this offended Rumbidzai or not.
I think there was more to her decision to commit suicide than my words.
Rumbidzai committed suicide in one of the school’s toilets on Tuesday and this prompted the school authorities to dismiss the other learners early.
The Roman Catholic Mutare Diocese education secretary, Lawrence Chibvuri said they were offering prayers and counselling to other learners who were traumatised by the incident. Said Chibvuri:
It is very unfortunate that she failed to open up and seek counselling from the school authorities.
Instead, she decided to end her life and this is the main message we are giving to our children at the school as well as all other Catholic schools.
We are saddened, however, by the choice of place for suicide because it causes trauma to other learners and teachers.
Therefore the prayers and counselling sessions are meant to help them cope with the sad incident.
We encourage learners to open up and not resort to drastic measures when they are going through tough times.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson for Manicaland Province, Inspector Nobert Muzondo, said:
We are yet to establish what led her to commit suicide. I am sure the parents or guardians would know better.
However, as the police, we will continue urging parents and guardians to have a cordial relationship with their children so that they are free to open up about all problems that they will be facing, rather than resorting to committing suicide.