Ms. Mandizvidza (“Respondent”) was a student at the Morgenster Teacher Training College (“Appellant”). Appellant is a private institution run by the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe.  Upon enrollment at the college, Respondent signed a contract stipulating that students who become pregnant or cause another student’s pregnancy must withdraw from the college. In December 1998, Respondent was married in accordance with customary law and tradition.  She subsequently became pregnant. On July 9, 1999, during Respondent’s final year of study, the college asked Respondent to withdraw from the college in accordance with the signed contract.   

Respondent filed a complaint against Appellant with the Minister of State in the President’s office. Appellant defended that the decision was justified on the following grounds: (1) the maintenance of moral standards, (2) contractual obligations that Respondent had signed, and (3) Respondent had not been expelled from the college, but withdrew voluntarily.  

Respondent requested the lower court for interim relief to sit for her final examinations. The lower court granted this relief on the basis that Clause 7(a) of the college contract violated Section 23 of the Constitution. Consequently, the lower court denied Appellant’s request for withdrawal as null and void. The lower court held that Respondent should be allowed to pursue her training.   

Appellant appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that Section 23 of the Constitution, which prohibits gender-based discrimination, does not apply to a private contract. Appellant argued that the case should instead be governed by contract law.