From the news desk

WCED on alert over ‘Charlie Charlie’

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A game described as “demonic” is sowing fear amongst school students across the Cape Flats, with principals taking a hard-line stance against pupils caught trying it out. ‘Charlie Charlie’, which mirrors something of a makeshift oujia board, involves two pencils placed on top of one another across a piece of paper with the words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. The game sees student’s direct questions to a spirit known as “Charlie”, who supposedly responds by moving the top pencil in the direction of its answer.

To clamp down on the practice, principals have issued a warning to parents that any student caught playing the game faces suspension, and potentially expulsion from their respective schools.

While the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has not received any direct reports from schools, the department’s spokesperson, Millicent Merton said they were still extremely concerned over “any activity that could bring harm to impressionable and vulnerable children”.

The game has become a widespread phenomenon across the city. Merton suspected this was as a result of the natural curiosity of young children.

“I had a message on social media earlier this week about Charlie Charlie, and the same afternoon my daughter came home and told me about it (as well). So that’s how it spreads and I don’t think principals want to spread it even further,” explaining the reason behind the notice to parents.

According to one alert circulated this week, a grade 4 boy fainted while playing this game.

Another reported incident took place in Tafelsig Mitchells Plain. In a Whatsapp message doing the rounds, it’s stated that some boys placed two pens across each other and called out ‘Charlie Charlie’. The pens started to spin by itself and stopped by pointing at one boy. This boy just started to bleed from his head profusely. The condition of the boy is still unknown.

Merton called on schools as well as parents looking for assistance on how to deal with the matter to approach any of the WCED’s various district offices, where they could receive assistance from social workers and psychologists. Alternatively they could contact the departments toll free call centre at 0800 454 647. VOC


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