Young people who attend Vuzu parties have threatened to name and shame some prominent personalities including church leaders who are involved in organising these wild parties if society continues to push the anti-vuzu parties narrative, an inquiry revealed.
Vuzu parties are wild indoor gatherings organised by teenagers where they engage in beer drinking, drugs and elicit sex.
The Vuzu inquiry was conducted in 2019-2020 by Junior Chamber International (JCI), Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), and Better Men Foundation.
Discussing the outcome of the inquiry on This morning on Asakhe, Sinqobile Ndlovu one of the people involved in the inquiry said they carried out a non- judgemental inquiry to have open conversations with young people about Vuzu parties.
She said young people revealed that even religious leaders are part of the Vuzu parties.
“When we went on the ground, we realised that as youths empathizing with other young people that going on the ground with judgement was not the answer. We needed to unpack this issue and find out what, why it was happening, how it was happening, we went back to the drawing board, also including some young people who have taken part or who take part or who organise Vuzu parties,” said Ndlovu.
“We sat down and we renamed our project into the vuzu inquiry project. The project we did was a non-judgmental approach to have an open conversation with young people as well as old people and other stakeholders on the issue that was happening.”
She said one of the key findings was that the phenomenon was a deep issue and a symptom of bigger issues in society.
“We found that not only as presented earlier that there are different types of Vuzu parties where whoever sleeps with a number of sexual partners gets an award but there are vuzu parties that are categorised according to age, so there are age groups as well including vuzu parties for adults,” she said.
“Adults organise their own vuzu parties as well. One of the shocking things was when the youths revealed that they won’t accept any judgements from society because society helps in organising and sponsoring these vuzu parties including some religious leaders.”
She added that some young people have threatened to name and shame old people involved in organising vuzu parties.
“One other young person was sharing that she was shocked to find a local pastor at a vuzu party. They were sharing that if you older people keep pressing on the issue of these anti-vuzu parties then the best way to revolt as young people is to just publish a list of who we consider respectable adults who are actually contributing and even participating in vuzu parties feasting on young children as young as 14 years,” she said.
Ndlovu said the other contributing factor of Vuzu parties is the growing trend of breakdown of family units.
“We are all aware that due to the economic challenges we are facing as a nation but they are not unique to us, all over the world countries are facing economic challenges of various extents but in Zimbabwe, the challenges we are facing have led to the migration of a lot of household heads to greener pastures be it South Africa, surrounding countries or even beyond in the diaspora,” she said.
She added that the case of absentee fathers was also a big factor that came out.
“In social circles, society, we have this language for example if a young woman doesn’t have positive relationships with the opposite sex or be it the same sex whatever the preference maybe she might be having daddy issues.”
Ndlovu said they also found that young people don’t have positive role models not only at home but in society.
“When we come down to home level the issues between our parents or guardians where they fight in front of us, where the home environment may be hostile, coupled with the fact that young people don’t have a space where they can unwind positively,” she said.