Pamela Shumba Senior Reporter
A breast-feeding teacher at Emakhandeni Primary School in Bulawayo allegedly committed suicide on Friday by hanging herself at Ingutsheni Central Hospital after nurses reportedly refused to discharge her to go and nurse her baby.Sources at the hospital said Precious Ngwenya, 31, was admitted to the hospital at the beginning of this month after an altercation with her long time married boyfriend worsened her mental illness.
The Grade Five teacher, who was on maternity leave after giving birth three months ago, had been on medication for mental illness for some time but was in a stable condition.
The boyfriend, Buka Dladla, who stays in Lobengula with his wife and family, is a headmaster at Mzilikazi Primary School. He is a former deputy head of Emakhandeni Primary.
Ngwenya and Dladla had two children together aged two years and three months.
Sources at the hospital told The Chronicle that Ngwenya was brought in on February 1.
“According to Ngwenya, an argument ensued between her and her boyfriend after she saw another woman, who wasn’t Dladla’s wife dropping him by her gate. She questioned why a woman was dropping him off and Dladla told her that the woman was a friend,” said a source at the hospital.
“A heated argument ensued between the two and it’s suspected that caused the deterioration of Ngwenya’s condition forcing Dladla to take her to the hospital. She was admitted until she committed suicide on Friday.”
The source said Ngwenya would, on a daily basis, ask the nurses to allow her to go home so that she could breatsfeed her three-month-old baby.
The hospital’s regulations do not allow mentally ill women to bring their children to the hospital until their condition stabilises.
“Due to her condition, she was a danger to the child and it wasn’t possible for her to be discharged but she kept on insisting that she wanted to go home.
“She was moved to a side ward, where she took the opportunity to tear a blanket and used a strip to hang herself,” she said.
Ngwenya’s condition, the source said, had worsened to the extent that she would climb onto the ward’s roof.
When The Chronicle visited Ngwenya’s Emakhandeni home yesterday, relatives declined to comment and refered all questions to Dladla.
Dladla, who was reportedly attending his sister’s funeral, could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Neighbours who were spoken to said Ngwenya was a peaceful woman who never showed any signs of distress. They, however, said her condition could have worsened after she lost her mother sometime last year.
A colleague, who declined to be named, confirmed that Ngwenya had been a psychiatric patient for some time, but said her condition was stable and never interfered with her work.
“She was always in a jovial mood and did her work diligently with no problems. The news that she committed suicide came as a shock to us.
“She started having an affair with Dladla when he was the deputy head at the school and they had two children together. We had never heard about any problems between them. They looked happy,” said the colleague.
Ingutsheni Hospital clinical director Dr Naboth Chaibva refused to comment on the issue yesterday, saying he was not at work and could only comment from his workplace.
Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo said he was yet to receive the information.