JOY NDWANDWE’S ZONE LEADERSHIP
Thank you, Thulani Lushaba, SWANCEFA, for write up on World Teachers Day 2017, Observer on Saturday 21 October 2017.
Thus reminding us to honour teachers who have contributed immensely in our lives. The theme ‘Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers,’ reaffirms the value of empowered teachers and recognises the challenges many encounter in their professional lives across the globe.’ Thus inspiring passion for teachers, after racking my khehledes to khehlekheledes during the 2015 high school visits. Since 2015 I have appreciated the working conditions of teachers in Swaziland, from roads to buildings infrastructure. During these trips I was encouraged when seeing new schools reducing distance from home to school, as education is accessible. This article was inspired by an intense conversation with a friend, who whispered into my ears the challenges teachers in early childhood, infantry and primary education encounter. This conversation left me shocked on how teachers also social workers, psychologist, nurses and parents due to the impact of sexual offences and domestic violence within families, community and societies.
Teaching in Freedom
After this intense conversation with this devoted primary school teacher and previous discussions with a family member whose life is devoted to early childhood development, I wonder. If there is such a thing as teaching in freedom, and am not referring to economic or political freedom.
But the social freedom as I cannot understand how teachers are carrying out duties they are not professionally trained for. Teachers are not social workers, psychologists nor nurses, and some maybe parent and some are forced into parenthood. However, due to the high prevalence rate of sexual offences and domestic violence, teachers are called to go beyond their professional lives.
They witness children in early childhood development, infantry and primary struggling with sexual offences and domestic violence, including incest when they come to school. Whilst they wait at the school gate for learners, they receive learners whose lives have been fast tracked by sexual offences and domestic violence. These learners are at times struggling physically when entering the school gates, and teachers witness these young lives traumatised by sexual offences and domestic violence.
How can they teach in freedom when they are receiving patients and they are not nurses? How can they teach in freedom when they witness the future generation, experience what they did not experience as learners? How can they teach in freedom when their learners have experienced sexual offences from their own parents?
This is the Swaziland teacher who is supposed to teach in freedom, when their learners are in agony and imprisonment due to sexual offences and domestic violence.
When they engage the parents of these children, denialism surfaces as the parents are defensive, also affected and infected by sexual offenses and domestic violence.
They live ‘emcashweni’ with no privacy, they have no economic freedom and this makes these parents slaves of sexual offences and domestic violence.
They suffer in silence as they watch their children because the bread winner is the perpetrator of the sexual offenses and domestic violence. Therefore how can teachers experience teaching in freedom, when their working environment, society is infested with sexual offences