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Video clip: Africa (country unknown)

Classroom caning

With comments by C. Farrell

'Six of the best' in an African classroom

This 20-second clip, of rather poor picture quality, probably comes from southern Africa. Informed sources think it could well be Zimbabwe, where school corporal punishment is lawful and normal. It could alternatively be Zambia -- or possibly South Africa, in which case it is theoretically illegal.

    A secondary student is being given "six of the best" at the front of his class. The teacher administering the punishment is not doing it as carefully or as formally as he might. He seems to be angry and/or in a hurry, which in my view is a mistake. In particular, he is not making enough effort to keep the boy in position, with hands on the desk, or at least to get him back into position before each stroke.

    The strokes are moderately hard, and delivered to the buttocks. The boy sticks his bottom out before each stroke but then keeps jumping up and putting his hands behind before the stroke has had time to land properly. It would have been better either to get an assistant to hold the student's hands, or to make him bend properly over the desk, rather than merely standing near it.

    It is hard to see the implement properly. I am assuming it is a whippy cane, though in some frames of the clip it looks more like an actual whip.


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