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MBABANE – Financial woes resulted in a second- year student of Eswatini Medical Christian University (EMCU) ending his life.

Ciniso Chibi (20), who was studying Social Work at the institution, was discovered hanging from a tree on Tuesday afternoon, in a bush situated about a kilometre away from the institution. He was discovered by a woman who had gone to the bush to pray. The woman raised the alarm and some men who were following her responded and called the police.
According to one of the eyewitnesses who was herding cattle next to the bush where Ciniso hanged himself, his (Cinisio) dress code made them suspect that he was a student at the university. He said they went to the institution in the company of the police and indeed, their suspicions  were confirmed. The suicide was confirmed by the Chief Police Information and Communications Officer, Superintendent Phindile Vilakati.


In an interview with the student’s father, who identified himself as Babe Chibi, he confirmed that his son was struggling financially. The devastated Babe Chibi could not hold back tears when responding to this reporter. He stated that he last spoke to his son about a week ago where he was requesting for financial assistance, but due to his financial position, he could not afford to assist him as he was unemployed. According to Babe Chibi, he sent him E150 which was the only money that he had. This money, he said, was sent through the student’s sister’s mobile phone as he no longer had a phone, following a mugging incident. “He asked me to call his mother who is a teacher in one of the schools in the country, but she also said she did not have money,” related the father.

He said when his son was not at school, they would stay together at home, at Herefords in the Hhohho Region. The outgoing Student Representative Committee’s (SRC) Chairperson, Khulani Mvubelo, who was very close to Ciniso, also confirmed his financial situation. Mvubelo said the current system used by government in aiding them in terms of allowances was a contributing factor to their challenges. He said the system was not favourable for them as students as they came from diverse backgrounds. “The system offers students E1 690 a month.” He said the payment was made for 10 months and after that they did not receive anything, yet they were still students and had needs. Mvubelo said the few months when the allowance was suspended they had houses to rent and practicals to attend, among other things. These requirements, he said, resulted in stress for some students who came from humble backgrounds. He said last month, some students’ allowances were stopped as the 10 months had been covered already. Such, he said, was a challenge for some of the students.


Also, he said the cost of living was high and the allowance was very little to sustain students in terms of paying rent, buying food and also using the money for covering schoolwork. Mvubelo said female students found themselves engaging in prostitution with older men to sustain themselves, while the male learners did not have any alternative, hence ended up seeing suicide as the only way out. Meanwhile, the university, through the registrar’s office, issued a statement on the tragic passing of the student. Registrar Sebenta Menon sent condolences to family, friends and fellow students. The statement read; “On Tuesday August 2, 2022, we received tragic news that one of our students was found dead in the neighbourhood. The university community is extremely saddened by the untimely passing of this student. A statement on the matter will be issued in due course.”

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