A TREND in Ndola has emerged in which pupils are joining cults to have power and influence over fellow pupils and teachers.
As a result, there have been incidences of fights among pupils in secluded places, though some of the physical confrontations have drifted into the public.
In some schools, there have been cases of pupils behaving strangely such as snorting and flexing muscles in a scaring manner once being provoked.
Investigations by the Sun revealed that there was a network of people taking advantage of pupils and coercing them into joining cults under the pretext that they would assume extra intelligence and physical strength.
Last week, a pupil was found attacking his counterpart for disobeying instructions issued by a cult leader at a named secondary school in Lubuto-Masala area.
A source said a teacher found two boys in an excruciating physical tussle just outside the school premises and one of them confessed that they belonged to a cult and wanted to instil discipline in a disobedient member.
The teacher, the source said, was shocked with the intensity of the punches and extraordinary strength exuded by the boys and immediately summoned them to the staff room.
“Two boys were caught fighting by a teacher outside school premises. The boys were brought to the staff room where they narrated that they are in a cult. The boy who came from another school said he was assigned to punish the boy he was found beating because he did not fulfil an assignment from the cult leader,” the source said.
Apparently, teachers who were shocked further interrogated the boys, and readily admitted having joined the cult in order to have control and influence teachers, fellow pupils and other people in the community who would dare harass them.
The source said one of the boys said he was given a ring by their leader for use in spiritual influence
According to the source, the boy uses the ring to summon power and influence teachers and pupils and that their cult was still growing as they were still recruiting more boys.
One of the boys said they were about 100 of them from surrounding schools and that they meet at some secluded area to recruit more members and also perform rituals.
The Sun has also learnt that pupils were acquiring exotic ornaments such as rings, neck chains and wrist bands for use in their magical and ritual activities in the cults.
Some of the jewellery was deliberately dropped in the school premises and whoever picked them would unknowingly get initiated in the cult.
In the cults, the leaders most of whom were outsiders, had been giving a strange liquid to the boys and once they consumed it they developed extraordinary strength and spiritual influence.
In some schools, teachers have cautioned pupils against picking attractive jewellery and other ornaments found lying loose as they could be a bait from cultists.
Meanwhile, Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Nativity overseer Father Leonard Tembo said it was sad that cultism was increasing in schools.
Fr Tembo said in an interview that good parenting was one of the solutions of getting rid of the problem and added that teachers should also get involved in fighting such a dangerous vice.
He said parents should enforce discipline on their children and spend more time with them so that they were able to monitor their activities and also visit them at school.
“School authorities should have high discipline and stringent punishment on offenders to deter others from the vice,” he said.
In a separate interview, New Life International Ministries overseer Bishop Nelly Chikwanda said there was need to ensure that schools had strong Scripture unions or fellowship gatherings where pupils and teachers could be worshipping and learning the Bible in more detail.
She said where there was the spirit of God such evil forces could not prevail, but attributed such issues to evil spirits trying to gain ground.
Bishop Chikwanda said it was also important for parents to ensure that they monitored the behaviour of their children and if they found something strange, they should involve men and women of God.
Basic Education Teacher’s Union of Zambia (BETUZ) secretary general Jeffrey Simuntala said there was need for counselling and guidance teachers to be fully involved in the matter so that they were able to talk to the pupils involved in cults.
Mr Simuntala said some pupils needed guidance so that they do not find themselves involved in such vices.
Of late, there had been an increase in child delinquency cases especially during sports competition when pupils get involved in fights.
Recently, Ndola magistrate Ben Akende ordered 12 months’ probation on a teenager who assaulted a teacher who wanted to disperse the boys he found sitting and idling in a classroom inappropriately.
The 16-year-old boy unleashed a thunderous blow above the teacher’s eye, inflicting a deep wound as other boys fled after scaling over a school boundary wall.