The two Bulawayo youth organisations that are carrying out a study on Vuzu parties, have said the participation of youths in their research is critical in order to stop the trend.
Vuzu parties have become known as wild parties attended mostly by teenagers who engage in alcohol, drug or substance abuse and end up voluntarily or involuntarily engaging in sexual activities with various partners.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Zimbabwe has partnered Grassroots Soccer to conduct the vuzu research project, where they seek to unravel what drives the youths to partake in these wild orgies that are mostly held at secret locations.
Grassroots Soccer Programmes Manager, Happy Ncube, told CITE that as researchers, they will need young people to describe exactly what Vuzu parties are and why they enjoy attending them.
“We need to understand this phenomena so that as researches we are fully aware of how to tackle it. This is why the research hopes to answer what is done at VUZU parties, who organises them, how they are doing it and who attends. We hope this research project will provide all this information,” she said.
Ncube said the study would use snowballing as a sampling method, where they would ask a participant to lead them to another who attends Vuzu parties.
“We will ask the participants to come forward and share their experiences with us, before they guide us to more until we have a large sample size,” the researcher noted.
She added that the more participants the research included, the more credible their study would be, as it would capture many voices and experiences of those who attend the Vuzu parties.
“We want to capture many voices as we can, so we have not put a cap on how many people we want,” said Ncube.
The programmes manager emphasised youths would also be involved in data collection procedures, as they have a better knowledge of who attends the parties and where they are held.
“In terms of collecting data, we will not do it by ourselves but we will recruit young people who attend the Vuzu parties, as they are the ones who know where their colleagues and friends are and where they meet. These youth will collect the data for us and our job will be to assist them with data analysis,” she said.
Ncube noted that the two organisations had conducted all the necessary ethical procedures for the research project and were ready to start.
“Some of our stakeholders were concerned about ethical clearances and we have already done that with the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe (MRCZ). I can confidently say this is a research that has ethical approval from MRCZ and we intend to start recruiting our research assistants by the first of March 2020,” she summed.
National Aids Council (NAC) Bulawayo Provincial Manager, Sinatra Nyathi, concurred that if youth participated in the research, their energy would be channeled in positive ways.
“Young people must tell us what happens because if you are in our generation you think the young are over entertained as they have smartphones and can go to movies. But they are now different, so as the older generation, we do not know what to do, which is young people must tell us more about this issue while we listen,” said Nyathi.