School students advised to move in groups as security against aggressive street kids

Street kids in Blantyre

By Duncan Mlanjira

Day secondary school students are being advised to move in groups when they knock off in the late hours of the afternoon to avoid being attacked by streets kids, who of late have been alleged to have been aggressive to unsuspecting pedestrians on deserted streets and alleyways.

This advice came from Chichiri Secondary last Saturday, January 12 when the school’s management convened a meeting with parents to address several issues amongst them on academics performance and way forward.

Second deputy headteacher (academics), Mr. Banda, sounded the warning after hearing reports that street kids usually attack lone students in deserted streets and short cuts because they know they keep some change from the pocket allowances they receive from their parents.

Innocent but dangerous

“We have asked the kids to walk in groups after their study circles and preps which are done after knocking off at 3pm and also they should avoid using less trafficked short cuts and we urge you parents to seriously take the same message to them,” he said.

He did not mention if some students at that school have been attacked before but one student confirmed that once late last year some students fell prey to these street kids.

And Banda stressed on this security measure because one of their plans to improve their students’ performance is to enhance the study circles for Forms 1-3 and preps for Form 4s whose period is one hour after knocking off at 3pm.

The crossroads in Blantyre where cars are scratched

He said Chichiri being a day school, they want the students to be studying right at campus first on what they had learnt that day and it is also up to the parents to make sure they also study at home. This means they will be going home a bit late when some of the streets are deserted, therefore falling prey to the street kids.

There have been many allegations of such attacks from street kids in all the major cities, that they can even intimidate a grown up, whom they surrounding armed with sharp objects such as sharpened bicycle wheel spokes and razor blades.

There have also been instances where the kids would beg motorists who have stopped for the traffic rights and once they are not given anything, they would poke hard these sharpened bicycle wheel spokes on the car body and as the car starts to move, they leave a heavy scratch on the car body paint work.

In the evenings, this street is usually deserted

“These kids can be a nuisance most times to us motorists,” commented Joseph Makandanje. “To avoid this we always make sure we carry loose change to give them. Another tactic is to engage positively with them and by and by they start to recognize you such that when you tell them you don’t have loose change, they let you go.

“Otherwise, if you become negative towards them, they take offense and try as much as possible to make you pay for it.”

Dr. Noel Kayange said he has treated three women who had been pierced with sharp objects on their bodies by these street kids and his patients narrated that when they finally managed to overpower them, some ran away with their luggage while the others remained behind just to escort their victims away so that they should not know where they had disappeared to.

“All these incidents happened on the street between Wenela Bus Depot and the roundabout at the Clock Tower and all between 6-7pm,” Dr. Kayange said.

Dr. Kayange also concurred with the car scratching allegation, saying he has seen it himself and also heard of these cases at crossroads traffic lights. 

“They usually target cars coming Sanjika Road from MRA/DSTV side [at Blantyre Magistrate Court] crossroads. They wait until the green light comes on as you start taking off.”

Another hotspot for scratching cars include the traffic lights at Henry Henderson Institute.

Commercial sex workers are prime targets

Other reports are that the street kids also attack commercial sex workers especially at dawn when they start off from entertainment joints for their homes. Reports are saying they surround the night queens and poke the sharp bicycle spokes on their bodies as a threat until the women hand over the cash they had earned from their clients.

“Some commercial sex workers said they get attacked by these boys using razor blades apart from the spokes,” said Charles Mgwede. “Dark streets are dangerous at night like the one behind Development House used by revellers coming from Chez Ntemba night club.

“We once rescued a commercial worker who was being multiple raped inside one of the food vendors’ shacks at Wenela on the road from Doogles Bar. They took advantage that she was drunk but they also threatened her with razor blades.”

Other people said there are many victims who have fallen prey these kids and Talimba Mwalwanda advised early morning travelers going to catch buses at Wenela never to attempt walking up the streets from the Clock Tower roundabout when it is deserted.

“They hide under the rail overpass and rob travelers of their luggage and cash. It has happened many times,” he said.