FOUR Form Two boys from Sikhulile High School in Lobengula West suburb reportedly ran away from their respective homes telling friends and classmates that they were travelling to Filabusi to join illegal gold miners, commonly known as omakorokoza.
The fours boys, classmates at Sikhulile High School in class Form Two A6, disappeared from their homes last Thursday after under the guise of attending after-school sports activities in the afternoon.
All the youngsters live in Emakhandeni suburb.
One of the boys’ grandmother sent as SOS — a distress signal — to a church WhatsApp chat group seeking advice on how to search for her 14-year-old grandson — Somzi — after he didn’t return home from school.
After asking around from her grandson’s friends, she discovered that he had, in fact, run off with three other classmates.
“Linjani zihlobo, thina koMoyo silahlekelwe ngumzukulu uSomzi. Usuke ethi uyaku ku-cricket kodwa engayi khona. Ngivuke ngidinga kubangani bakhe kodwa kungathi babaleke beyi 4, abafana bonke balapha Emakhandeni. Amahungahunga athi bathi baya e-mine, singazi ukuthi yiphi leyo mine. (How are you relatives, we, the Moyo family, cannot find our grandson Somzi who left home saying he was going for cricket practice. When I could not find him in the morning, I discovered he had run off with his friends from Emakhandeni suburb. Rumours are that the boys have run off to a mine, although we have no idea which one), wrote the grandmother, Olipha Moyo.
Filabusi is a rich gold mining district with registered mining firms as well as thousands of illegal miners, omakorokoza.
Fierce wars over gold claims are a common occurrence in the area with rivals often losing limbs and killing each other over the mining rights of the precious yellow metal.
Church members advised her to alert the police.
A police report was made at Entumbane Police Station by the families of the runaway boys. However, on Wednesday morning — six days after the boys disappeared — Moyo told B-Metro that her grandson and another boy had returned.
The other teens are said to be holed up in Filabusi.
“He came back yesterday with just one of the boys that he left with but he won’t say much about their whereabouts for the last couple of days except to say that he will never do it again.
“The other two boys are said to be still at the so-called mine. I’m just glad my grandson is back at home, safe and sound, he doesn’t have any physical injuries. His parents live and work in South Africa,” she told B-Metro.
She said she was advised by church members not to be too heavy handed on the youngster lest he runs off again.
The boys had reportedly been skipping school before last week’s disappearance and school authorities were in the process of setting up a meeting with their families to get to the bottom of the matter before the school expelled the pupils for prolonged absenteeism.
The Sikhulile High School headmaster, a Mrs Nkomo, referred this publication to the Bulawayo provincial education director Olicah Kaira.