Story by Josephine Mugiyo
Abuse of drugs and other dangerous substances has reached alarming levels in Zimbabwe after eight students were expelled from Harare’s Dominican Convent High School for violating the school’s drug policy.
Driving across the streets of Harare, the chances of coming across young people abusing drugs are high.
Along Leopold Takawira, the ZBC News crew comes across a group of seemingly young boys whose age is probably between 15 and 20 years.
Holding his glue in a container and smoking from a packet of fresh milk, one of the young lads approaches the ZBC vehicle.
He appears intoxicated and is eager to speak about his shenanigans and unlike his colleagues who fled the camera; he wants to tell his story.
While he should probably be in school with his age mates, the streets have consumed him just like the dangerous substances he has been taking for the past five years.
“I started smoking when I was a very young. My father died and I was living with my mother,” he says.
The young lad determines the course of the conversation as probing him does not really get him to answer the asked questions
He prefers to speak on his terms and categorically states that he has no intention of quitting.
The conversation is a slow and winding as he takes time after almost every sentence to blow into the fresh milk packet that contains his gateway to the so called pleasure.
The glue that sticks on his lips does not seem to bother him, but is a disturbing site of a life being wasted and a soul in need of redemption.
This is what has become of a good number of youths in Zimbabwe.
The young lad continues, “If you know the sound a baboon makes, that’s what I do when I’m smoking.”
For this boy, there are no prospects of going to school, but the menace has been taken from the streets to education centres.
A notice to parents from Dominican Convent School in Harare confirming the expulsion of children who were found guilty of violating the school drug policy confirms the worst fear for any parent with a child at school.
While those partaking from the streets have no one to answer to, what do the ordinary parents have to say about the issue of drug abuse in schools?
A parent says, “This situation is not good at all. Even the availability of drugs is an issue and those supplying the drugs should be stopped.”
Narrating how her son dropped from a tertiary institution after getting hooked on drugs, a mother confirms that she is losing the battle.
“I have a child at home who is always sleeping. I have tried to talk to him, but it is to no avail. It’s a difficult situation because some of the children like mine don’t listen,” she laments.
It takes a community to raise a child, so the saying goes. And if there has ever been a time for the nation to unite and fight this scourge, Now is the time.