A nine year-old girl from Hlankomo village outside Ntabankulu in the Eastern Cape has missed two weeks of school because locals had claimed she was a witch. Residents marched to the school and removed her from the premises after claims the little girl had said she could make learners at school fail by smearing muthi on their pens.
The girl’s mother is distraught.
“Our neighbour told us that the children were fighting. We called the children to explain and our daughter told us she bought chips and shared some with the other girl, but when the girl got hers, she did not share with our daughter. Then another girl came and told us that our child said she can ride brooms and that she can also make others fail at school. They also told us that our daughter said she was going to poison their child so we asked them to give us the poison so that we can show them it did not belong to us. We drank it and we vomited after that.”
The provincial department of Social Development has expressed shock at the incident. Spokesperson, Gcobani Maswana, says the rights of the girl have been infringed.
“This is a very unfortunate situation because, if you check the statement, it’s saying the right of the child to education and the right of the child to association has been violated. So as a department of Social Development, we are going to investigate and find out what kind of intervention that we can have in those communities; the intervention that is going to help the rights of the children and also can help the communities. Normally, we do have the dialogues that we have with communities. So, surely we are going to come up with an intervention that is going to help both the community and the child.”