Sex orgies, where teenagers abuse drugs and alcohol before indulging in (usually) unprotected intercourse, have apparently become a regular phenomenon in Zimbabwe.\r\n\r\nFor instance, 224 teens were recently arrested for engaging in what is called a ‘Vuzu party’. Waza blogger Kundai Marunya believes that this is just a sign of the social decay brought about by a comatose economy.\r\n\r\nI remember this one time I was invited to cover a video launch at an establishment in Harare. Walking to the space, I was greeted by a crowd of teenagers who were slowly sipping their beers and whiskies, their smokes in hand. This was still on the staircase leading to the joint.\r\n\r\nWhile making my way into the club, my mind went blank for a second. I was there thinking this could only be a dream of Sodom and Gomora, which I would snap out of in a few minutes.\r\nOpen cleavage\r\n\r\nThe young girls were there wearing tiny shorts that barely covered their bum-cheeks, tops big enough to cover the lower part of their breasts, while the rest of their cleavage hung in the open, seemingly inviting possible suitors.\r\n\r\nA cider and a cigarette was the trending fashion, while raunchy dancing was the in thing. My first instinct was, take pictures and show the world what Zimbabwe has gone to. And I did take some few snaps, and then remembered, as journalists we are supposed to protect children from damaging their reputation over silly childhood mistakes.\r\n\r\nIt is not ethical to publish children’s pictures without their parent’s consent.\r\nUnethical proprietors\r\n\r\nWhile I was battling with my conscience a young girl, barely fourteen, walked to me with a police escort, and demanded I erase the pictures I had taken of her dry-humping some boy. So this was the police, acting as security at the venue where almost everyone except for the organizer was underage, drinking alcohol and smoking.\r\n\r\nAs we were arguing over the legality of what he was even doing at the venue, another uniformed cop came, and another, suddenly I was out-numbered. So I silently walked away, but with a heavy heart.\r\n\r\nIs this really the Zimbabwe we want our children to grow up in, where everyone is just concerned about making money even at the expense of the future of young people?\r\nParenting\r\n\r\nDo parents even know what their children spend time doing?\r\n\r\nInvestigations shows that a lot of other night clubs are in the same business of hosting underage drinkers; working with youthful organisers who call themselves ‘clicks’. They invite fellow young people to come and party, pay entrance fee (which clicks pocket) while the club benefits from alcohol sales.\r\n\r\nNowadays, you even hear of young people hosting sex orgies and parties in private residences. Many of the teens who are involved have parents living outside the country, and are thus able to engage in such unmonitored behaviour.\r\nEconomic decline\r\n\r\nPerhaps this is a sign of the social impact of the economic decline that has led to many adults leaving the country in search of greener pastures.\r\n\r\nWhen we were growing up, buying alcoholic beverages was despicable, let alone showing your face in a bar or night club. You could easily get a good hiding from a stranger. This was not so long ago, but when people still cared about the well-being of a society; when ‘the community raised a child’\r\nYes, we could sometimes sneak some drinks, but everything was done in deep secrecy. I remember rinsing my mouth with toothpaste to cover the smell of alcohol after I tried my first beer.\r\n\r\nEven that drink had to be stolen from my friend’s father. No one allowed an underaged person to buy alcohol.\r\nSociety’s role\r\n\r\nComing from this background, and with a full understanding of what is scribbled at the entrance of any bar, liquor store or night club: ‘no under 18’, a law everyone who runs an alcohol joint fully understands, I don’t quite grasp how I get to rub shoulders with young boys, barely fifteen in almost every club in Harare and Bulawayo.\r\n\r\nAnd I cannot also understand how we as a society can stand by and let this happen. Drugs and alcohol have a detrimental effect on anyone’s health, let alone young people. If we are going to develop our country and create a generation that can handle the responsibilities of running a society, we need to ensure that young people are mature enough when they make the choice to indulge.\r\n\r\nMore importantly, we need to build a society where young children are nurtured by their parents, who would be assisted by the community.\r\n\r\nThe decay of our entire social fabric, which is broken up simply because people can longer make a living in the country of their birth, is the price we have paid for allowing a political system that breaks up families, and has created a dog-eat-dog system, where making money trumps social responsibility.\r\nWaza is proud to feature as part of its content local bloggers who have a knack for expressing their unique perspectives, independent thoughts and engaging stories. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.\r\nBe sure to check out Waza blogger Farai Siebert Mabeza’s take on urban decay in Harare, and don’t miss Kundai’s other writing on Waza.