Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Correspondent
BOARDING schools have banned pupils from bringing certain types of breakfast cereals after discovering that pupils use them to brew opaque beer. Schools open today.
Pupils reportedly mix the cereals with brown sugar and yeast and leave the mixture to ferment in the sun, creating a potent alcoholic mixture which the pupils drink right under the noses of school authorities.
The administration at Tennyson Hlabangana High School last term sent text messages to parents saying Morvite and oatmeal porridge would no longer be allowed at the school. Other schools especially in Matabeleland South that include Cyrene Boys High and Embakwe have reportedly banned the breakfast cereals too.
Bulawayo provincial education director Dan Moyo professed ignorance about the matter, while Matabeleland South Provincial education director Tumisang Thabela did not answer her mobile phone.
However, one of the parents with a child at Tennyson Hlabangana High School confirmed the development. He said the school warned them against buying Morvite and oatmeal porridge for their children.
The parent said the school informed them that they will confiscate the cereal if found with the pupils. “We received messages advising us not to buy Morvite when buying groceries for our children. After conducting our investigations we established that the cereal was being fermented into alcohol,” said the parent.
A local chemist, Michael Dube confirmed that the cereals can be easily brewed into opaque beer. He said Morvite contained sugar and sorghum which are key ingredients in brewing beer. Dube however, expressed concern over the effects of the illicit brew saying it can pose devastating effects on health.
“The danger of doing this is that there is no method to control the alcohol content. Their beer might have high alcohol levels, which may be a threat to their health,” he said. “High alcohol levels may lead to alcoholism and can damage internal organs such as the liver and kidneys,” he said.
Dube warned of the long term effects of alcohol abuse saying alcoholism has detrimental effects such as addiction and can destroy an individual’s mental strength.
Alcoholism among school going teenagers is on the increase in the country. Last month police raided and arrested 224 pupils who were conducting a Vuzu party at Rest Camp on the outskirts of Bulawayo. A further 57 people were arrested at a house in Lochview suburb two weeks ago.
Youths are said to abuse alcohol and drugs at the parties and reportedly engage in marathon sex sessions without protection. Pupils whose parents are in the diaspora often host the lavish parties.