Parents with daughters studying at Kalibu Academy advised to have a hearty talks with their kids for possible sexual assault

Kalibu Academy director Michael Howard

* Latest victim is left traumatized she suffered at the hands of none other than that of the most trusted guardian, the teacher

* Malawi Human Rights Commission is acting on the reports and advised other victims to report their experiences

* Kalibu’s director Michael Howard ordered the victim and her friend never to reveal the unfortunate incident arrested

* As this was going to damage the reputation of the school, further infuriating the victim’s mother

By Duncan Mlanjira

Following revelation that a girl was recently nearly raped by a teacher at Kalibu Academy, parents are being advised to have a hearty talks with their daughters studying at this school for possible sexual assault that may gone unreported.


This follows a whistleblow from a parent to the daughter who was nearly raped and had the courage to immediately inform her mother of the traumatic ordeal she suffered at school — at the hands of none other than that of the most trusted guardian, the teacher.

Writing on his Facebook page, journalist and social ills commentator, Idriss Ali Nassah says the parents whose daughters have recently returned home from boarding school at Kalibu Academy should have the “difficult but necessary conversation” with them on “mental and physical well-being”.

“If you can’t do it yourself, let a trusted family member do so,” Nassah says. “It is absolutely important. We are hearing that the young girl who reported the sexual assault to her mother may not have been the only victim, unfortunately.

Ali Nassah champions investigation on Kalibu

“Something has to be done. We have engaged the Ministry of Education to investigate any case of sexual assault and abuses at school, and reports of cover-ups.

“If any parent, former or current students have information that may help in the investigation, please get in touch with me or, better still, with Habiba Osman at the Malawi Human Rights Commission.”

To which Habiba Osman responded to report that the Malawi Human Rights Commission is acting on the reports and advised other victims to get in touch with them as well to help them move in.

The whilstle-blower revealed that as soon as she picked her daughter up on her return for holidays, she showed he mother a bruise on her thigh and revealed that her teacher, Felix Namakhwa, had wanted to rape her.

The mother was told that during a lesson, Namakhwa had said something unpalatable and the learners murmured their disapproval.

This, the daughter reported, annoyed him and singled out this mother’s daughter as a culprit and ordered her to remain behind — she protested  as to why she was the only one when it was the whole class that murmured.

Probably detecting that something fishy was going on, the victim’s close friend chose to wait for her outside and out of sight.

Once alone, Namakhwa is reported to have proceeded to undress the kid and when she protested, the teacher insisted that he just wanted to whip her on her thigh as a punishment.

As he went further to try and undress her, the girl realised he intended to rape her and shouted for help which her friend promptly responded by reentering the classroom and caught him red handed.

The friend and victim is reported to have wrestled with the teacher and managed to free themselves to rush and report the incident to management.

It is reported by the girl that the school’s director Michael Howard handed the teacher to the police and he returned to school to inform the two girls that the teacher had been arrested.

However, Howard ordered the kids never to reveal the ordeal because this was going to damage the reputation of the school.

Howard’s action has infuriated the parents to the child victim, taking cognizance that it is the responsibility of school management to inform parents of whatever unfortunate incident that can happen to the kids under their watch.

“That has left me thinking, why is this school behaving like this? laments the mother. “I am so disappointed — I don’t even know where to start from but my daughter’s father and I will definitely follow this up.”

She said she decided to make this revelation public to warn fellow parents that while they believe that their kids are safe at school — having the confidence that they don’t associate immorally with boys — they do not know “it’s the teachers themselves who are abusing our kids”.

“My daughter is so traumatized with this ordeal that she was nearly raped.”

Education PS, Chikondano Mussa

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education issued a statement that it has instituted investigations into the alleged attempted rape as well as reports that more male teachers might be involved in this act.

In her statement, the Ministry’ Principal Secretary, Chikondano Mussa, said they had noted with concern of the reports of abuse of learners at Kalibu Academy including the attempted rape of this particular victim.

She thus encourages all who may have information on this issue or any similar incidences at the school to contact the Ministry in confidence on 0888 308 523.

In response to Nassau’s post, technical journalist Deguzman Kaminjolo revealed that he had his son at Kalibu, who is now in second year in college but twice he noticed fear in the kid whenever they drive past the Kalibu school bus.

“He becomes terrified to a point of shaking when we pass the bus and this is after he had already left Kalibu,” reveals Kaminjolo.

He said when he enrolled him at the Academy, the first term of Form 1 went without much ado but he later started coming back looking emaciated, downcast and miserable.

“He told me he was never going back to Kalibu as a boarder again. We wrestled but he stuck his guns. Strangely, he never revealed what made him so terrified of boarding school at Kalibu.

“The same routine happened to two of my friends’ sons. I hear they have a military-school-kind-of discipline but I have a feeling more happens at this school, and it’s institutionalised.”

Demonstrations against sexual abuse

Nassah went further to reveal that actually the former students have formed groups called ‘Survivors of Kalibu’ “where they vent and speak about their experiences at the school. It must be some form of therapy for them, but the stories they share are utterly heart-wrenching.”

Kalibu has been synonymous with scandals and its management seems to be left scot free by the country’s authorities.

In 2015, it was reported that management was involved in different abuses faced by employees and students at this supposedly Christian school.

Some parents also allow this to happen as reports indicate that they “dump” their kids there as it has such a high capacity for boarders at relatively low prices and such parents apparently turn a blind eye to the abuse in exchange for allowing Kalibu and the staff to “beat their kids into shape.”

Speaker of Parliament joined the demonstrations

Some teachers reportedly carry whips with them around campus to carry out on the spot corporal punishment.

In 2020, the Academy’s director Howard unruffled feathers after authoring a letter which was judged by the public as condescending, insolent and chauvinistic.

In the letter to parents, Howard had noted that there had been so much vocal criticism on social media against Kalibu Academy from certain parents regarding the fees structure and he added that “of all the critics not one has contacted the Academy before verbalizing on the social media”.

“There are proper channels for solving legitimate grievances. The court of public opinion will not move the leadership of Kalibu Academy. Such behavior is not the way to deal with issues and is actually immoral.

Women journalists demonstrate against sexual abuse in November last year

“Those parents who have most to say are often those parents who have not paid fees up to date. Remember parents, you are passing through and we remain. School rules are school rules.

“Every parent signs the list of school rules. You cannot then start complaining against the school and seeking to dismantle the rules to suit yourself or your kid.”

Howard had further claimed that they were owed over K60 million by delinquent parents, many of who appear on social media complaining about the academy and threatened to publicize the names and amounts that delinquent parents owe them.

He then became insolent and chauvinistic when he said he was amazed at how faithful and honourable single mothers are especially in the payment of fees.

“Well done to single mothers. Your burdens are heavy, I know, but you are really faithful. Thank you as well as thank you to the parents who do pay on time and who do not oppose everything we are doing at Kalibu Academy in the best interests of your son/daughter,” he wrote.

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But commentators hit back at the tone of the letter, accusing the controversial church pastor of being sexist, confrontational and rude, with Nassah more scathing, saying: “You can bet on this — Kamuzu Academy or Saint Andrews would never write to parents/guardians in such a rude, arrogant, unprofessional, patronizing and condescending manner.

“KA and Saints are owed large sums of money, too. The difference is that Saints and KA have class. Kalibu has a bully who, in all probability, writes letters to parents when high on some illicit substance.

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“If this is how parents are spoken to, imagine what the students there go through at the hands of this person. It must be terrifying! Parents must unite and confront this bully,” he wrote.

Some parents with learners at Kalibu Academy observe that the absence of Parents Teachers Association (PTA) as a channel to address such issues escalate problems being faced.

A parent had responded to Nassah’s post that in late 2018 they wrote the school asking for the formation a PTA as an an attempt to create a proper parent-teacher interactive platform.

The parent revealed that Kalibu management never responded to that request despite reminders through emails and when personally approached, Pastors Mavutula and Howard indicated that the “PTA is not desirable but promised to respond to the letter but never did”.

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