President Mugabe, one of the remaining few nationalist leaders of his generation on the 18th of April, 2016 had the chance to air his views on the youths who will take over when this era has ended. He said, “Sadly, some of the youths have not lived up to our expectations. They have instead become victims of hedonism; the perception that pleasure is the highest good and proper aim of human life. Day in day out we read stories about young people dying after mind-bending and behaviour substances.”
He spoke for his peers, both gone and living. The overachieving youths of his generation annihilated whole systems of oppression and it looks like the modern day youth is a victim of the freedom achieved. No bar is beyond limits. No suburb cannot host a party. No street corner cannot be used as a drug selling point. It is not all youths, and it might not even be the majority but those who are focused on hedonistic pursuits have disappointed the founding fathers of the continent. President Mugabe then said, “We have heard of wild parties that the youths are engaging in, where drugs are peddled and abused. The rate of promiscuity among youths is also alarming.”
In Kenya’s Phenom Estate in Lang’ata, Nairobi, about 106 youths were arrested in March 2016 on charges of binge drinking at a party. Some of the arrested were as young as sixteen and a “foreign lady” had hosted the affair for the youngsters. The group had 76 boys and 34 girls. Nairobi news then reported of an event named “Project X”, which was obviously a profane party of absolute unhindered debauchery. The police blocked the event saying it would not happen and the Kenya Film Classification Board denounced the party saying its hosts were from a “porn ring” and were unscrupulous business people. The alleged aim of the event was to record the sexual encounters of the youths and use the footage to blackmail them after the party.
This is sadly not a problem unique to Kenya, moral decadence has also taken the Zimbabwean scene by storm thus inspiring the country’s leader to air his disappointment. Parties where youths indulge in sexual orgies, binge drinking and drug abuse are now commonplace in the country. They even have a name for these unholy meet-ups; “Vuzu parties”. In 2015, Zimbabwean police arrested 224 teenagers after they were caught at a Vuzu party in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city. The party was held in Umguza Rest Camp in celebration of the Heroes Holiday. It almost reads like a spit in the face of the heroes who sacrificed their lives for youths to celebrate their sacrifice by having unprotected sex and doing drugs. The irony is not lost. The fathers of African freedom have every right to lament on the face of such a situation.
Of late, the nude picture craze has spread around like a wildfire leaving broken girls in the wake of its ravages. Youths in “love” feel the need to share pictures with nothing on and these are later used against them the moment things take a turn for the worst. 2015 and 2014’s Miss Zimbabwe winners had their nudes released soon after being crowned and the organisers have now resorted to making the models swear on the Bible that they have no nudes or sex-tapes. The whole idea of Ubuntu seems alien to the current crop of Westernised youths. Though some are still in the straight and narrow, the stains of the bad eggs have made the whole sect of youths seem debauched and oversexed. Drugs like cannabis have found their way into society as a permanent feature while the newer concoctions like the South African “nyaope” are gaining popularity. Some youths are known to use the cough syrup BronCleer to get the elusive high they so badly need. A research paper by Santosh Kumar Mishra for SNDT Women’s University titled “An Investigation into Extent of Drug Abuse among Youth in Africa” details the drug abuse endemic in the African continent.
It is normal for youths to want to explore but it should not be normal for them to lose their values and dignity in the name of exploration. The continent is waiting on leaders with integrity and not those who make deliberate mistakes. Freedom won by the founding fathers of modern African society was not freedom to wildly party with no care but freedom to be at the forefront of development of the continent. Thus far, it seems some youths have decided to pretend pleasure is the end of all mankind, disappointing the heroes of the liberation of Africa.