Matabeleland North provincial education director has ordered Ndimimbili community members to stop brewing mahewu for Ndimimbili Secondary School pupils following an incident where more than 80 pupils were rushed to hospital after drinking the traditional brew.
It is suspected that the brew was laced with poison.
The pupils vomited and had running tummies after they took “poisoned” mahewu.
They were rushed to St-Lukes hospital where some were admitted for days.
Matabeleland North provincial education director (PED) Boithatelo Mnguni confirmed the incident.
“I can confirm that I received a report from Ndimimbili Secondary School stating that more than 80 pupils were rushed to St-Lukes hospital after drinking mahewu.
“We took samples of mahewu for testing to determine whether it was laced with poison or not. We are still waiting for the results and as a corrective measure we have since ordered community members to stop brewing mahewu,” said Mnguni.
She urged parents of the affected pupils not to panic as the situation was under control and said nothing of that sort would ever happen again.
Parents of the affected pupils expressed fear and have threatened to transfer their children.
Miss Siqalo Moyo said she was transferring her children to another school.
“I am transferring my two children to a safer learning environment. I fear that the school authorities are not all that careful when it comes to pupils’ safety because my children almost died after taking poisoned mahewu and I had to spend a lot of money buying medication,” she said.
Another parent Andersen Zitha said: “Four of my children got sick after drinking mahewu at the school and the school authorities promised to give us feedback of the test, but they have not yet done so. I am working on transferring my children because I fear for their lives,” said Andersen Zitha.
The traditional brew was part of the feeding scheme given to pupils by members of the community who take turns to prepare it on a daily basis.