A stitch in time saves nine

29 Jan, 2023 - 00:01 0 Views
A stitch in time saves nine

The Sunday Mail

LAST week’s revelations that a private Catholic day school for girls, Dominican Convent High School, had expelled eight learners for alleged drug use or abuse is as shocking as it is alarming.

The institution is considered one of the elite schools in Zimbabwe.

It is also ironic that the reported offence took place at the school’s 2023 Upper Sixth leadership camp in Nyanga, which, it would seem, was specially convened to inculcate the same values the learners now stand accused of breaching.

Naturally, police have stepped in.

It shows in graphic detail that drug abuse has no totem, as it has become a cross-cutting societal problem that is affecting both the rich and poor alike.

But, as a society, we need to diagnose and locate the major reasons why drug use and abuse have become so pervasive.

In an increasingly tough and challenging world, where parents and guardians have to burn the candle at both ends to make ends meet, it could be parental inattention.

Nowadays, parents no longer have enough time with their children as they would want, so the moral guardrails needed to keep the little ones in check and out of harm’s way are no longer there.

It could also be the gradual erosion of our cultural values, which usually made it obligatory for the community to be responsible for the upbringing of the young.

The little societal practices that made it mandatory for the young to greet and assist their elders, as well as behave in an acceptable manner are no longer there.

In the old days, we used to say it takes a community to raise a child, but not anymore.

There is a reason why our societies were always considered hospitable – it was because of these time-honoured norms and values that defined who we are and what we became.

In addition, the growing drug abuse problem could also be attributed to the fact that we are not making the price of dealing in drugs steep enough as to be deterrent.

And it could also be the consequence of the unilateral coercive measures that continue to be enforced by the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom, which have made life tough for ordinary Zimbabweans.

All these factors could be combining to create the perfect storm we are now experiencing.

We have to do something about it.

Some, if not most, of these drug peddlers are known in our communities, but it seems we are reluctant to act because we presume that it is not our problem.

Well, it is indeed our problem.

The deleterious impact that drugs are having on our communities and society are too ghastly to contemplate — crime, prostitution and mental health challenges.

It affects us all, either directly or indirectly.

Considering that youths under the age of 25 currently constitute more than 60 percent of Africa’s population, it is quite apparent that our future is in their hands.

It, therefore, becomes incumbent upon us to act.

Parents, teachers, the Church and community have a vital role to play to deal with this cancer, which is slowly metastasising.

There is need for parents to actively play a role in their children’s upbringing.

Teachers, who spend most of the days with these kids, need to impress on them the quintessential values of Ubuntu, which teaches us the importance of respecting our culture, values, norms and morality.

We need to rediscover ourselves as a people.

These values can be taught at a young age.

Also, our police, in liaison with communities, must make it expensive to deal in drugs.

They should aggressively pursue each one of these shameless and depraved monsters that are sacrificing the innocence, dreams and future of the young ones for filthy profits.

The full wrath of the law must be brought to bear.

Considering the severity of the challenge that we have at hand, nothing less than a hammer-and-tongs approach in going after these criminals will suffice.

Letting our kids waste away is clearly not an option as it is tantamount to killing our future.

A stitch in time saves nine.

The time to act is now!

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