TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2013 —
Are Zimbabwean youth “lazy” or simply neglected by the government? The question is being raised after government ministers accused young Zimbabweans of spending too much time on Facebook and other social media websites and engaging in unscrupulous activities, such as gambling, to make a quick buck.
Young people told Studio 7 they disagree, charging that a lack of jobs and government assistance has left them with few options to earn money.
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi told journalists on the sidelines of the just-ended Young Women’s Conference that Zimbabwe is facing serious challenges, saying most youths are generally “lazy” and engage in “dubious activities” to get fast cash.
As an example, Mr. Mzembi accused young people selling cellphone accessories in Harare’s Zimex Mall of conning unsuspecting members of the public.
His statement angered many youths at the conference, including Alison Darikayi, who told Studio 7 that Mzembi should apologize for those remarks. Young people, Darikayi said, are struggling to make ends meet due to the harsh economic environment in Zimbabwe.
Other young women at the conference described the minister’s utterances as “unfortunate” and “misguided.”
They said Mzembi’s remarks echoed those made by Youth Minister Francis Nhema, who complained to the conference attendants that too many young women spend their valuable time on social media like Twitter and Facebook.
Thirty year-old Thandiwe Khumalo said Nhema’s utterances are a clear indicator that some government officials are out of touch with youth and young women’s issues.
Khumalo blamed government, traditional and religious leaders as well as parents in general, for just engaging in what she called “useless talk” when they accuse youths of being lazy.
Mutare youth Nyasha Ndladlara said the government should work harder to empower youth and help them find jobs, rather than accuse them of being lazy.
According to the 2012 National Census results, women constitute more than half of Zimbabwe’s nearly 13 million people and most of them are young.