The row over deployment of non-Ndebele speaking teachers in Matabeleland schools spilled into the courts yesterday, with seven suspects appearing before a magistrate for storming a school and demanding the removal of a headmistress over the issue.
The group, comprising of villagers from Makuzeze area in Mangwe District and some members of the Mthwakazi Joint Youth Resolution, allegedly connived and confronted Makuzeze Primary School head Victoria Pasipanodya before ordering her to vacate the school as she belonged to the Shona tribe.
Unbeknown to the group, Pasipanodya said she was only married to a Shona husband, but she was of Ndebele origin and her maiden surname was Nyathi.
Mqondisi Moyo (26), Busani Sibanda (30), Thandolwenkosi Dube (26), Simanje Sibanda (32), Lieoto Dube (36), Ntokozo Denga (35) and Temba Mvundla (48) allegedly stormed the school's offices early last year and hurled insults at the headmistress demanding that she resigns. The seven denied the charges before Plumtree Magistrate Gideon Ruvetsa and were remanded out of custody to today for continuation of trial.
Pasipanodya, who has since been transferred to Kwite Primary School in the same district, said she left the school because of the threats. She revealed that she had been emotionally and verbally abused by the overzealous Ndebele-speaking villagers.
"When these rowdy people came to the school they insulted me and they told me that they wanted me to leave the school as they were tired of being led by Shona speaking people," she told Plumtree Magistrate Gideon Ruvetsa.
"They said it was enough that the nation was being led by a Shona speaking person and they would not accept this at community level."
Pasipanodya was told to return to her workplace, but refused because of the incident.
She said the group accused her of sleeping with some of the education officials in order to retain her position.