Sunday Observer - - FEATURES -

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

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