A 13-year-old girl has been rewarded by the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) for averting a train disaster that could have killed at least 300 people when she was only 12.

Nozipho Sibanda, a form one pupil of Entumbane High School in Zimbabwe, saw a broken railway line in Sawmills last September, an hour before a Bulawayo-bound train from Victoria falls was set to pass. The girl rushed to inform the station manager at Sawmills railway station and station manager stopped the train that was due to pass on that track within an hour. At the time, she was a 12-year-old Grade Seven pupil at Sawmills Primary School.

In appreciation of her life-saving act, last Friday the NRZ went to her school and committed to pay her school fees until she completes secondary school. The NRZ also guaranteed her a place at its training school in Bulawayo should she wish to be enrolled there.

NRZ Regional Marketing Manager Mr Joseph Temai commended Nozipho for her sense of responsibility.

He said: 

She saved over 300 lives in a passenger train that was coming from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo. She did something that some adults may have failed to do. As part of our whistleblower's programme, we decided to give her a small token of appreciation as a gesture to show gratitude to her family and her school for cultivating such good habits in a child.
It was midweek in the morning and she was on her way to school. She noticed that part of the railway line was broken and she went to notify the station manager before going to school. It shows the kind of family and home that she was brought up in.

Mr Temai said property worth millions of dollars were saved and the lives of about 300 passengers were spared because of Nozipho's act.

He said:

She helped to save the Government’s and taxpayer’s money. Another person may not see the value of this as one may not see themselves as a beneficiary of railway services. When one considers that our food is transported via rail, our coal for electricity is transported via rail and other goods and services, it is important to note that we are all beneficiaries.