It is no longer legal for a teacher, parent, or guardian to inflict corporal punishment on a child.
There’s a definite line between discipline and beating a child. Fortunately, residents in Zimbabwe will have an incentive to learn the difference, as it recently became unconstitutional to beat a child in the East-African country. Those who commit the offense will be punished by the law.
As BBC shares, corporal punishment has been banned at home and in school by the High Court yet still needs to be approved by the constitutional court. Considering the monumental decision passed as a result of parental outrage over evidence that their children were being beaten in school for minor infractions, it’s likely the initiative will pass.
Linah Pfungwa is one individual who advocated for the ban on child abuse. After finding gruesome bruises on her daughter’s body, the activist partnered with a children’s rights organization in order to take the progressive law to court. She told a local newspaper:
“My child suffered major bruises and I took photographs and pictures… She had deep bruises on her back and she could hardly sleep properly. I posted the pictures of my daughter on our WhatsApp group for other parents to observe and it turned out that other children had also been assaulted.”
Justice David Mangota eventually ruled that neither parents nor teachers have the right to beat children as a form of punishment. In many African countries, it is considered ‘normal’ to physically punish an insubordinate child. Now, however, methods of discipline must be adopted by societies in Zimbabwe or else they will face legal repercussions. Ms. Pfungwa had a few suggestions to share:
“If my child misbehaves, I ground her by denying her access to television as well as denying her pocket money or other goodies like sweets and presents,” she explained. “If she does well, I reward her by presents or extra hours of watching television.”
“My child is well-behaved and well-brought up simply as a result of the dialogue that I use as a means of discipline,” Pfungwa added.
Zimbabwe has come quite far in just a few years. After all, it was just last year that child marriage was outlawed in the country. What positive development(s) will next take place? Please comment your thoughts below and share this news!
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