In a heartbreaking incident that sheds light on corruption within the education system, a 33-year-old Primary Care Nurse student at Nkayi District Hospital in Matabeleland North province took his own life after allegedly being failed by his tutors for refusing to bribe them in exchange for better marks.
Welcome Mabhena’s tragic suicide has prompted discussions about the detrimental effects of corruption on students’ mental well-being and the overall quality of education.
Reports suggest that Welcome Mabhena, facing feelings of dejection and despair, consumed a dipping chemical after learning of his failure in the final exams. It is alleged that his tutors demanded bribes to secure his passing grades. When Mabhena refused to meet their demands, they purportedly conspired to ensure his failure, leaving him devastated and emotionally shattered.
Sources familiar with the matter reveal that the tutors had a history of demanding bribes and exorbitant fees from students, which were not properly documented. Mabhena, who had clashed with his tutors before, claimed that they marked him unfairly on assignments and tests, creating a demoralizing environment.
On September 8, when Mabhena received his results, his tutors promised him counselling, which he declined. Feeling betrayed and unwanted, he decided to return to his rural home in Mawuwini Village, located about seven kilometers from Nkayi Centre. Along the way, colleagues invited him to join their celebration, but he remained quiet throughout the gathering. Afterward, he boarded a bus and returned home.
Upon arriving home, Mabhena greeted his family members, including his wife, with a cryptic statement, saying, “A great tribulation has befallen me.” Despite his family’s familiarity with his reserved nature, they did not press him for further explanation. Reports indicate that he appeared well and cheerful at the time.
Later, without uttering a word, Mabhena left his home and headed towards Tshangani River. Around 5 p.m., he consumed a dipping chemical. Villagers discovered him near the Fanisoni Bridge, in a groaning and exhausted state. He confessed to ingesting the chemical obtained from the Silugu Dip tank. His family was promptly alerted, and they rushed him to Nkayi District Hospital. However, due to the severity of his condition, he was transferred to Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo, where medical professionals tirelessly fought to save his life, unfortunately without success.
Dr. Heron Dube, the Nkayi district medical officer, expressed shock and sadness over Mabhena’s untimely demise. He stated that he had not received any prior information regarding corruption allegations involving the tutors from other students. Dr. Dube extended his deepest condolences to Mabhena’s grieving family.