AMH is an independent media house free from political ties or outside influence. We have four newspapers: The Zimbabwe Independent, a business weekly published every Friday, The Standard, a weekly published every Sunday, and Southern and NewsDay, our daily newspapers. Each has an online edition.

  • Marketing
  • Digital Marketing Manager: tmutambara@alphamedia.co.zw
  • Tel: (04) 771722/3
  • Online Advertising
  • Digital@alphamedia.co.zw
  • Web Development
  • jmanyenyere@alphamedia.co.zw

Zim youths’ future buried with drugs

It is indeed sad to observe that Zimbabwe’s youths that constitute 67,7% of the population have become drug abusers and partakers in sex orgies like group sex escapades.

THE future of Zimbabwe is blurred socially, culturally, economically, politically, morally and spiritually. An effort to gaze into the future is coming with negative feedback on the trajectory of the country. It is usually argued that the future of any country is associated with its youths.

To that effect, the youths should be socialised into responsible citizens that can then be deployed to various sections of the economy. It is indeed sad to observe that Zimbabwe’s youths that constitute 67,7% of the population have become drug abusers and partakers in sex orgies like group sex escapades. One may ponder as to how, where and when the rains beat the Zimbabwean youths. How, where and when the rains beat the Zimbabwean youths is not an easy question to answer because its answer may involve intersectional variables that speak to the politics and economy of the day.

The politics and economy of the day are indeed central to shaping the behavioural patterns of the youths because they are the underlying root causes of poverty, cognitive dissonance, conflict, migration (human and organ trafficking) and wretchedness among the youths. It is indeed the intent of this opinion piece to interrogate the underlying root causes of the Zimbabwean youths’ social-behavioural patterns that have generated more heat than light across all the sectors of society.

Studies reveal that the Zimbabwean youths rank top in Africa in terms of substance use and abuse. Pursuant to the above, WHO (2019) says that Zimbabwe has the highest number of 15 to 19-year-olds engaging in heavy episodic drinking in Africa, with 70,7% of males and 55,5% of females participating. This should, indeed, be worrisome for the political leadership of the country, because the future (youths) of the country is being interred with drugs.

One may wonder if the political leadership of the country is concerned at all because the youths’ preoccupation with drugs may dim the youths’ consciousness of the political climate that may be in serious need of rehabilitation. To that effect, use and substance abuse by the youths could be a zero-sum game for politicians who know that the youths have the capacity and capability to change the political course of the country.

Some social scientists have argued that politicians could be responsible for supplying drugs to the Zimbabwean youths so that the youths’ cognitive structures could be in a perpetual state of dissonance to the extent of not taking the fight for change to the streets. This thinking explains the source of drugs for the youths as the politicians.

The other possible cause of the use and abuse of drugs in Zimbabwe is intimately linked to the economic down-turn of the country.

In Zimbabwe there is a high unemployment rate, the formal economy has been overshadowed by the informal economy. Most Zimbabwean youths are out of employment, they have a lot of idle time that they use to try to numb their problems through use and abuse of drugs. The youths try to sink their problems in drugs without knowing that problems are good swimmers.

The more the youths take the drugs, the more they get used to the drugs. Drugs arguably inject viruses into their blood, they can’t let go. Some drugs induce gargantuan appetites while others kill appetite. When zonked, youths can do all sorts of things like sexual violence, robbery, thuggery, using foul language, engaging in group sex, stealing, dropping out of college and driving recklessly. Once hooked into drugs, youths lose focus, they live for the here and now, they gradually descent into mental health problems that are hard to rehabilitate.

The underlying root cause of the abuse of drugs in Zimbabwe is the economy that has gone to the dogs. When the economy of the country is fixed, it becomes absorptive and, in the process, needles are put in their right places.

Another principal cause of the negative behaviours of the Zimbabwean youths, is for this writer, the screaming absence of recreational facilities for children and youths. It does boggle the mind that Zimbabwe now has more filling stations than sports academies. Day-in and day-out spaces for car sales are being created at the expense of recreational facilities, eateries like Chicken Inn, Nandos, Chicken Slicer and KFC are mushrooming in the country at the expense of recreational facilities for the youths.

Political leaders in Zimbabwe should rethink thinking in terms of developmental processes that are pro-poor and inclusive. The Zimbabwean youths have nowhere to go to spend their time productively, all spaces have been taken up by housing units, food courts and filling stations. This writer questions the sanity of the leadership that puts a premium on allocating housing units to people without considering recreational facilities for children and the youths. Play is critical for the moral, intellectual, spiritual, physical, emotional and linguistic development of children and youths.

Observably, gated communities are also sprouting within Harare and they are coming bereft of corresponding spaces for recreational facilities.

For the little children and the youths, play has now been privatised, corporatised if not commodified through food courts that have created play facilities for customers who would have bought food.

Let the children and the youths play, and this will cut down on cases of substance abuse. Idle youths experiment with sex and beer and will also increasingly fall back on the digital public space for pornography and other activities that are not progressive.

In some countries where terrorist activities are common, research has shown that youths have been recruited into terrorist organisations through the digital public spaces that they are always using because of having nothing to do.

The cup of misery for the Zimbabwean youths is not yet full, until the politics and economy of the country are fixed. Everything falls and rises on leadership, thence the Zimbabwean leadership has a duty of safeguarding and protecting the youths of Zimbabwe through distributive justice.

 Nicholas Aribino is the ZimCare Trust country director. He writes here in his personal capacity.

Related Topics