'Witchcraft' allegations hit Okangwati Combined School

16 Apr 2016 13:10pm
OKANGWATI, 16 APR (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture is looking into reports of learners fainting while writing their examinations at the Okangwati Combined School recently.
A number of Grade 10 learners are said to have fainted while others reported not feeling well while writing examinations, sparking claims of ‘witchcraft’ at the village in the Kunene Region.
The circuit inspector for Epupa, Levi Musilika told Nampa on Wednesday the incident was reported to his office by the school’s principal, Joshua Shikongo.
When Nampa visited the school Thursday morning, Musilika was at the school carrying out an investigation in this regard.
“I need to interview the affected learners and the teachers who witnessed the alleged incident,” the inspector said.
Shikongo told this news agency this is the first time something of this nature happens since he joined the school, but he was informed that a similar incident occurred a few years ago.
Musilika, who was a principal in Kunene before taking up his position as inspector, however said this is the first occurrence of its kind in the Epupa circuit.
A number of similar incidents have been reported at schools elsewhere in the country.
In 2013, at Tses in the //Kharas Region, more than 20 learners suffered attacks similar to epileptic attacks during examinations, and 'demonic attacks' were mentioned.
At the time, the region’s director of education /Awebahe //Hoeseb told local English daily The Namibian it is strange that the “demons” are aware of the school’s examination timetable as such incidents only occur around examination time.
In 2014, the parents of learners at the Oshilemba Combined School in the Omusati Region blamed the principal and a teacher there for what they said were “demonic attacks” at the school.
In that incidence, acting director of education, Loide Shatiwa dismissed the parents’ claims, saying mass hysteria is to blame and the children just need counselling.
Mass hysteria refers to a phenomenon that transmits collective delusions of threats (real or imaginary) through a population as a result of rumors and fear. It could amongst others lead to fainting, headaches and convulsions.