Tanzania: Why School Kept News of Student's Family Members' Death a Secret for 22 Days

20 November 2019

A school in Tanzania decided not to inform a 16-year-old girl that her entire family of five had been wiped out by flash floods last month to enable her complete her examinations.

Anna Zambi's parents and siblings were on their way to visit her in school for prayer day ahead of her final secondary school examinations when they met their death.

TRAGIC INCIDENT

A private car in which they were travelling in was swept away in floods following incessant rains in Handeni District, Tanga Region.

According Tanzanian daily, The Citizen, the school chose to keep the tragic incident a secret to enable Zambi complete her exams in peace.

The incident happened just two days before the start of the examinations.

The head teacher of Mother Teresa of Calcuta Girls Secondary School revealed how he managed to ensure the student was kept in the dark over the tragedy that took the lives of her parents and three other siblings on October 26.

GRAVEYARDS

In breaking communication at the school, he said, all students were no longer allowed to watch TV on the pretext that it was examination time and that they must always be busy with their books.

On Monday, almost a month after the incident, she traveled back home to be with her family after finishing the exams, only to learn that her parents and siblings were no more.

It was not until Saturday, November 16, when a wave of grief and deep sorrow rolled through relatives and mourners who had gathered for hours to receive Zambi and take her to the graveyards of her parents and three siblings.

At the same time, the Tanzanian government has pledged to support the bereaved teenager, saying that it would pay for her psychological rehabilitation and education.

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