A 17-YEAR-OLD pupil at a top Bulawayo school who gave birth and hid the infant in a satchel, where it suffocated, has been spared jail. The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, stashed the back pack with the tot in a wardrobe, a court heard yesterday. The infant was discovered by the girl’s sister, already dead.
Magistrate Sibongile Msipa Marondedze, sitting at the Western Commonage Magistrates’ Court, convicted the juvenile – who was in Form 3 – of concealment of birth. The magistrate postponed the passing of sentence for five years on condition that the juvenile does not within that period commit a similar offence.
Mufaro Mageza, for the prosecution, said on January 31 this year, the schoolgirl who never informed anyone about her pregnancy, gave birth and stashed the infant in a satchel which she later placed in her wardrobe. Mageza said the juvenile kept the birth secret.
“The dead infant was discovered by the accused’s sister who went into her bedroom to look for dirty clothes as she wanted to do laundry,” Mageza said. Examination of the infant’s remains following its discovery suggested it had been born a day earlier.
The teenager was arrested after her mother called in the police. Last year, a 17-year-old Sobukhazi Secondary School student gave birth in the school toilets and tried to hide the baby behind the same toilet. A teacher heard cries of a newborn baby and questioned the pupil. She admitted that the baby was hers.
The juvenile’s aunt said she had observed that her niece had gained weight, but she never suspected she could be pregnant. In March this year, another teenager was spared a jail term after she gave birth and wrapped the baby in a plastic bag. Mercy Nyoni, 19, placed the baby in a handbag before hiding the bag under a pile of clothes.
The baby was found alive by an alert neighbour who saw Nyoni acting out of character and went to investigate.