Friday, 22 September 2017


PARENTS have accused tour guides and school authorities at Cyrene High school of negligence after two pupils drowned in a canoeing accident in Masiye Dam in Matopo National Park on Tuesday.

The pupils reportedly paddled the canoe without guides until it capsized, resulting in the drowning of Melinkosi Mhlanga (17) a Form Five pupil and Blessing Ngwenya (14), a Form One pupil.

The deceased were among 31 pupils from the Anglican Church-run boys’ boarding school who had visited Masiye Camp which is run by the Salvation Army Church.
Melinkosi is said to have drowned after diving into the dam to look for Blessing who could not be located after the canoe capsized.

The boys said one of the guides waded into the dam and gave up when the water reached just above his chest.

The Chronicle visited some homes of pupils who had attended the school trip and parents shed tears as their sons narrated the ordeal. Parents revealed that each pupil paid $55 for the trip.

A parent who asked not to be named said: “We are in shock and can’t stop crying for the unfortunate ones. Most of the parents are blaming the school and the tour guides for not looking after our children. We are told that when the incident occurred, the teachers were busy cooking, far from pupils,” she said.
The parent said the school failed to communicate with them in a “proper and dignified manner” following the accident.

“Parents got to know about the tragedy through social media. When the headmaster finally decided to notify us, he put it across in an unacceptable way, just stating that two kids had died and their bodies had been ferried to United Bulawayo Hospitals,” she said.

Another parent said a staff member at the school called and advised parents to collect their children the following morning.

“My son was traumatised and cried non-stop. He has been unable to eat or sleep,” said the parent.

Efforts to get a comment from the school were unsuccessful as the headmaster, Mr Charles Bhebhe and his deputy, Mrs Precious Mawoko, were not reachable on their mobile phones.
Both boys will be buried today, Melinkosi at Luveve Cemetery in Bulawayo and Blessing in Esigodini. Chronicle 


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