Organizations representing young people in Zimbabwe say they are baffled by the growing wayward behavior of some young people who engage in sex parties commonly known as “vuzum or pasa pasa’s”.
These parties involve young people engaging in illicit behavior such as drugs and alcohol and dangerous sexual activities.
In Bulawayo, police from the Victim Friendly Unit, the National AIDS Council and various organizations including Childline and Active Youth Zimbabwe are working on campaigns to educate teenagers on unsafe sex, drug and alcohol use.
Among concerns of the illicit behavior and unsafe practices among young people, is the increase in HIV infection rates among young people.
Bakidzanani Dube of Active Youth Zimbabwe told Studio 7 his organization is tackling and bringing direct attention to the worrying parties.
“We are actually condemning such actions being taken by youth. We can call them illegal parties because those parties are not sanctioned by anyone even parents themselves at the moment are against those parties,” said Dube.
He said his organization is pushing for the education against these parties as they will only negatively interfere with the lives of these young people.
Plot Mhako, artistic director of Jibilika Dance Trust, said it is true the parties are occurring in cities like Harare and Bulawayo. He said young people are aided in throwing these parties.
“At times with the help of some elders that maybe bring in the money to organize these parties for different motives,” said Mhako.
Mhako, who is currently in the United States as a Mandela Washington Fellow, said like other organizations they are working to tackle the challenges associated the these illicit behaviors.
“What we are doing as an institution is that we are talking to these young people in different communities and schools about the dangers of such acts of deviant social behaviors as well as the risk they are exposed to, of HIV and alcoholism,” said Mhako.
According to the National Aids Council (NAC), the HIV prevalence rate in Zimbabwe overall has dropped, with statistics showing a 15 percent prevalence rate as of 2013, but new cases among young people have become a cause for concern.
In some cities like Harare, the NAC has reported that there has been an increase in sexually transmitted infections, with 15,000 cases recorded in the city during the last quarter of 2014.
Dube and Mhako, like other stakeholders, said the key is making sure that young Zimbabweans are empowered and supported to ward off efforts being made by their peers to snare them into engaging in such activities.