Impoverished children in Swaziland are being excluded from school because they are coming to classes with bare feet.
Vusi Magongo, principal of the Esiweni Nazarene Primary school, Mbadlane, is threatening to expel the children completely if their parents do not buy them shoes and a full uniform by next week. But, the only place they can buy the uniform is from the school itself.
Mbadlane is in rural Swaziland where poverty is rampant. In the kingdom as a whole, seven in ten people earn less than US$2 (E15) a day.
Magongo was unrepentant when questioned by local media. He blamed the parents for not catering for the pupils' every need, saying it showed they did not love them enough.
Girls are badly affected by the move because they have to wear a tunic bearing the school's badge or a golfer shirt also with the school's badge and a skirt. The tunic and skirt costs E250 while the golfer shirt costs E50. All these items can be bought only at the school, the Swazi Observer newspaper reported.