Some 4 959 teenagers were impregnated in January and February this year, according to a government report.

“During lockdown, learners spent more time at home, which left most men converting the community to a hunting ground,” said Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Dr Sithembiso Nyoni.

“What is worrying is that most of the perpetrators are never brought before the law and that these teenagers are abandoning school yet Government allows for them to go back.”

A source from Dalny Mine Secondary School in Kadoma told The Sunday Mail Society that at least 28 girls did not return for class when schools reopened last month.

At Seke 6 Secondary School in Chitungwiza, six girls dropped out this year. Two of them have since indicated their willingness to return to class, provided they get the necessary support.

At Kalungwizi Secondary School in Binga, at least 12 girls absconded. 

One of the school drop-outs, Shelly Maronda (not her real name), is four months pregnant. She was impregnated by a cattle herder who is 13 years older than her.

Maronda is supposed to be writing her final Ordinary Level examinations this year at Damba Secondary School in Hwedza.

“This was a mistake, I knew he is married and it was not meant to be anything serious. I still want to be in school but I have become a laughing stock. My friends have abandoned me, I am insecure and fear I will not cope in class.”

For Tanyaradzwa, a Bindura-based 17-year-old, the case is totally different.  Her parents forced her to elope.

“We lived in a compound and they could not stomach the embarrassment of having a pregnant child under their roof so they chased me away from home. “I now live with my 19-year-old husband and in-laws. School is no longer an option. I was not ready for all this but I am left with no choice.”