Two Bulawayo youth-focused organisations have launched a research project to come up with interventions to eradicate Vuzu parties that have taken the city by storm.
Vuzu parties can be described as wild parties which are attended mostly by teenagers where they engage in alcohol, drug and substance abuse and end up voluntarily or involuntarily engaging in sexual activities with various partners.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Zimbabwe in partnership with Grassroots Soccer said the research project was inspired by the need to unravel what happens at these wild orgies which are mostly held at secret locations.
“This is a social sciences laboratory were we need to brainstorm on what we have to do and that is exactly the essence of why we are gathered here, we want to launch the Vuzu research project to try and understand what is really happening on the parties,” said AHF Prevention Manager Dr. Clever Taderera at the launch in Gwabalanda.
He added that the main aim is to explore the cause of Vuzu parties among adolescents in the city.
“The topic of our research is exploring the practice of Vuzu parties among young people in Bulawayo, Vuzu parties is a phenomenon that has transformed itself over time and when we tried to look around and review it we are not really sure when it started,” he said.
The National Aid Council (NAC) Bulawayo Provincial Manager Sinatra Nyathi said as parents they are worried about Vuzu parties as they expose most youths to risks of contracting sexually transmitted infections.
“Globally HIV statistics are going down for all the age groups except for the young people and this is a sad thing because while we thought we were winning the battle the young people were starting to engage in a lot of issues that expose them to HIV and Aids,” said Nyathi.
Nyathi said the main challenge is that most of the young people who attend Vuzu parties were engaging in sexual activities without protection.
“While young people are indulging in sexual activities they do not know their statuses and remember we have a lot of young people who were born with HIV so they go around spreading it and contracting during such parties,” said Nyathi.
She added that international organisations became aware of these developments and began a project to end adolescent infection by the year 2020.
“According to Unicef in partnership with other international health and development partners they launched this program where they wanted to end Aids in the adolescent group, this global initiative established the 2020 target towards ending the Aids epidemic among adolescents by 2020,” she said.
“So remember we are already in 2020 and we do not know what we have done so far in terms of reaching our 2020 target but we want to focus on the young people.”