Authorities of Luchenza Secondary School in Thyolo have temporarily closed the school due to what they described as bad behaviour among learners at the institution.
Malawi News Agency (MANA) understands that for the past few weeks, learners at the school have demonstrated unbecoming behaviour ranging from teasing and bullying to destruction of school property and stealing fresh maize from nearby gardens that belong to the school and staff.
Head teacher for the school, Helbert Nsasa declined to comment on the matter, saying only his division could do so.
However, an inside source said things started heating up a week ago when Form 1 female student complained about the constant teasing and bullying at their hostels.
The source explained that the situation worsened when some senior female students began to demand K100 from each Form one girl. If they failed to do, they were told to kneel down for over three hours.
"We managed to trace all those girls who were involved in such malpractices. We later interrogated them before asking all of them to invite their parents so that the school can take necessary action.
“After discussion with the parents, we agreed that there was need to suspend them, however, we were surprised to see them lingering around the campus,” said the source.
"All these girls are habitual offenders. The next thing we saw was girls and boys protesting the suspension of their friends where they started destroying electricity equipment that brings power in classes and lockers.
“They also chanted and sang songs before damaging a windscreen for a vehicle that was parked at the school matron’s house," he added, saying all this happened during the night.
The school brought in the police to restore peace but the learners locked the gate, stopping the law enforcers from accessing the school campus.
However, the source said the following evening the learners started stealing fresh maize from the school gardens and those belonging to teachers. Luckily, the teachers apprehended some of them.
But when the said learners were called the following morning for interrogation, it was discovered that there was a long list of offenders.
"The school was calling everyone whose name was mentioned which angered the students such that on Wednesday afternoon, all the boys refused to take lunch and that there was tension at the school.
“This prompted management to decide to close down the school for fear of repetition of the Wednesday’s situation,” the source said.
Meanwhile, management is scrutinising the names to come up with a list of those who should or should not be recalled.
The source said some will be given a lengthy suspension while others are likely to be expelled.
South Volley League Reborn; To capitalise on decentralisation
Southern Region Volleyball League (SRVL) which has thirteen administrative districts of Malawi and the largest League among the three in Malawi in terms of geographical size is on decentralisation drive. Decentralisation is the process of shifting control/ authority from one main group to several smaller ones. It gives more power/ authority to the individual lower level members/ branches, rather than concentrating it at the central level.
According to SRVL Chairperson, Kelvin Zulu, this is part of their five years strategic plan.
“The current leadership championing and challenging the development of the sport, currently working on its five years strategic plan. The leadership has identified key priority areas that are absolutely essential in bringing back systems and structures in place for Volleyball to thrive back into life in the region”, Zulu revealed.
One of the areas the SRVL Committee is focusing on is grassroots development.
Grassroots volleyball in Malawi is currently on its deathbed. This can be witnessed from the absence of any such activities and even the most anticipated Presidential Initiative on Sports which has seen the government money being just a white elephant in all the three Leagues ‘bank accounts’, that is on assumption that the Leagues are still keeping the money.
“Grassroots development is probably the only best way for the region to regain the sports relevance and sustainability. Here we are first and foremost targeting schools as it is where kids and youths congregate (primary, Secondary & colleges) and any other groupings interested to challenge. Not all teams/clubs at these levels would manage to participate at regional level, hence decentralization. Considering the huge numbers of schools in the region with their huge population, the Executive (SRVL) has decided to divide the region into smaller manageable groups in order to allow growing teams/clubs probabilities of increased participation within and among themselves. This system will allow most teams to compete and improve faster”, added Zulu.
The League has been subdivided in the following six zone: Lower Shire (Chikhwawa and Nsanje Districts); Shire Highlands/ South East (Mulanje, Thyolo and Phalombe); Eastern region (Mangochi, Machinga and Balaka); Mwanza-Neno; Central Zone (Blantyre and Chiradzulu) and Zomba Zone.
Each Zone is expected to run its own League at all levels (Primary, Secondary, Tertiary & club levels) with their own committees working hand in hand with the main SRVL Executive Committee.
So far Lower Shire Zone has already started organizing itself with an elected committee in place. It is reported that SRVL has reached to at least five primary schools assisting them with nets and volleyballs for training.
The SRVL Committee led by Vice Chairperson Ambilike Mwaungulu is on Saturday, 15th February, 2020 scheduled to visit South East Zone with the main aim of establishing Committees. Among the invited members to the meeting expected to take place at Mulanje Stadium are the Districts Sports Development Officers (DSDO) of all the three districts.
Phalombe DSDO Edward Malumero believes that this arrangement will revive and incite volleyball development.
“It's a good development because this will revive and spur the volleyball sport in these three districts as they will be able to organized their own competition's at zone level before they proceed to the regional competitions. Secondly this will be a good platform for the committee to lobby for support as Mulanje and Thyolo they have estates which may have keen interest of supporting the sport”, Malumero said.
On the other hand, the development has excited Lower Shire Zone Chairperson Hudson Kafunda. He believes that this decentralization move by SRVL Committee will help in capacity building specifically and volleyball development in general.
“Many people will learn to manage volleyball as now they are empowered to run volleyball affairs within their reach/ communities. The experience and interaction with the SRVL Committee while still at lower level will help capacity building as zonal committee members will improve and retain the skills and knowledge needed to do the administration work competently’, he said.
Kafunda went further to challenge other Zones to be active and not just run for positions.
“I appreciate the SRVL Committee for creating the zones and this will promote and develop volleyball. Lower Shire has started to develop and I urge other zones to be active as we are doing here”, Kafunda challenged.
Zulu acknowledged the financial and some extent equipment challenge that may have negative effects.
“However, the challenge remains to do with sponsorship which we are currently working on. Remember we are starting from the scratch”, Zulu cried.
Each Zone is assigned to two SRVL Committee members to facilitate the establishment of their Committees. They had planned to finish by January, 2020 establishing the Zonal Committee but that has delayed.
Clubs and affiliates of the Southern Region Volleyball League have finally elected an executive to run its affairs.
During the elections on Sunday, chairperson of Thunders Volleyball club Kelvin Zulu who was among those agitating for change at the helm of SRVL was overwhelmingly elected chairperson with 24 votes. SRVL's longtime general secretary who had been hoping to ascend to the top position got six votes as did Owen Lita.
Kamuzu Stadium manager and volleyball coach Ambilike Mwaungulu was elected vice chairperson unopposed while Charles Msusa, Thunders team manager is the new GS having gotten 20 votes against Wezzie Mwafulirwa's, 16 his deputy is Henry Mangani.
Blessing Mtuwa Nkhata is the new treasurer. She saw off the challenge of Dokiso Mukhalipe with 22 votes against his 14 while Mack Chirambo, Twambilire Chalemba, Faith Mwafulirwa Scknar Gwaza and Ijoumar Mwaluka are the committee members.
In his acceptance speech, Zulu urged all teams and volleyball stakeholders to work as a team to resuscitate what he called the lost glory of volleyball in Malawi's Southern region.
In an interview just after the elections, Msusa said: "Our committee is aiming at reviving the sport in the region. We wish to develop the governance structure for the League. We need to revive participation of the teams from all districts. We will also focus on developmental volleyball thus all ages in the strata."
Volleyball Association of Malawi GS Jairos Nkhoma has since told the committee that their honeymoon was over before it had even started and that it was time to run with their vision.