The thought of Kalamare Primary School as an avenue of acquiring education has been replaced with anguish.Women converse in low voices in groups under trees. There is an ignition of sorrow once the subject is brought forth; the girl pupil is the most endangered as only one boy has been affected. By last Thursday, 18 children had collapsed mysteriously at the school.
Parents fear for their children's lives. Last Tuesday, the fear bred truancy at the school as pupils unilaterally stayed away. A 42-year-old mother whose 11-year-old daughter is among the 18 pupils who have collapsed and fainted at the school said she will not let her child to suffer at the hands of a mysterious creature. In fact, the girl and her sibling (who is in standard two) have not been to the school since Tuesday last week. "My children are not going back to the school until religious bodies have intervened and removed that thing," she said.
She explained that her child went to the girls' toilets and fainted after she saw a pair of legs walking in the toilet wearing white socks. The girl is said to have remained unconscious for about four hours at the village clinic with eyes rolling and a whitish fluid coming out of her mouth. Surprisingly, she said the girl was asked if she has had sexual intercourse. She was then given clotrimazole - a tablet that is inserted in the private parts of a female.
This is an antifungal agent used to treat vaginal yeast infections. "This thing is using our children in sexual acts," she said. Her children are now at the cattle post away from the chalk and board that could bring them closer to a brighter future. Yet another victim, a 13-year-old standard six girl is said to have seen a very short, hairy dual gendered creature at the girls' toilets. She recalled seeing the creature, and then when she tried to flee she fell and fainted. "She said from there she saw herself at the clinic," her sister said. The girl is said to have remained unconscious for about three hours, with a whitish stuff dripping from her mouth. She complained that her whole body was painful, the worst part being her back. She has gone to a local church, but they have not yet told her what the problem is.
Pastor Segolame Sejakgomo of St Maria Alphord Church in Kalamare says the evil creature that is haunting pupils at the school is a thokolosi.
"This is a very evil spirit terrorising these children," he said after a 30-minute prayer session at the school. He welcomed the idea of churches coming together to remove the 'evil spirit'. However, talk is rife that at a meeting last Friday, the majority was of the view that churches should assemble and eliminate the creature but the village leadership opposed the suggestion.
An embittered Kgosi Goareng Mosinyi attested to refusing religious people to assemble at the school in an effort to remove the evil that has befallen the village. "We have decided not to discuss the issue with the media as papers have already published falsified information about my uncle (Kgang Mosinyi)," he said.
He said he did not want church intervention in the matter as church leaders have a tendency of making false accusations. "I will take action against the churches which will assemble unlawfully at the school," he said.
Meanwhile, prayers are ongoing at the school, with uncertainty growing by the day as the sight of the local ambulance driving to and from Kalamare Primary School announces another fainting case. Many parents are of the view that as much as education is fundamental to their children's lives, what is unfolding at the school is not conducive to learning.
Some people are now considering taking their children to the cattle post until the 'evil' is removed or shifting them to another primary school. Another concern in Kalamare is the yearly disappearances of people who are never found or are found dead.