Growth points an entertainment haven for youths

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They do not need an expensive suit, neither do they need a fat wallet as they flock to the entertainment joints.

By Michelle Chifamba
Own Correspondent

On weekends, youths flock to the bars that are dotted at most growth points in Zimbabwe’s countryside to spend their hard-earned cash.

Some of them have never set foot in Harare to seek better fortunes. To them, life is what they make it at those growth points.

“Though life is serious, you do not have to take it seriously. Life in the city is expensive yet here we enjoy the same lifestyle as that in the city. We listen to the same music that is played in the city and we do not need to drink a crate of beer to get drunk,” Silvestos Murambwi said.

Growth points were created by the government after independence and were aimed at decongesting major cities. They were designed to create employment for rural folk and were supposed to expand into formidable business centres.

“Growth points have over the years lost their glitter. With the dwindling agriculture sector and the crumbling economy, supermarkets, banks and agriculture depots are no longer serving the relevant purposes at these growth points,” said an independent economic analyst Trust Zigora.

Youths in most rural areas seem to be the only ones who are making an effort to keep these growth points alive.

Sporting their Sunday best attire, many young people descend on these quasi-urban areas to unwind and reminisce about the life of the ordinary rural youth.

To them, the places have brought the city life to their doorstep as they do not have to worry about going to the cities.

Thus, Growth Points have become the haven of entertainment spots for many rural youths.

“Apart from the long distances that we travel to the nearest growth points, we have to endure as that is the only time we can mingle with other young people from other villages. On Sundays after church we trudge the 9km journey to this Growth Point,” Veronica Mandiye said.

At Checheche Growth Point, in Chipinge, Wedzerai Masunda says together with his friends, he travels more than 15km to the growth point during weekends.

“We formed a soccer club here and many boys around this village meet over the weekends and play soccer. We make soccer bets and when we win, we use the money to buy each other beer,” Masunda said.

Many business owners, especially bar owners, have been recording a steady increase in business especially during the weekends, public holidays and during spring when people have less work to do.

“Most bars are filled with young people who would have earned their wages from doing menial jobs in the fields. During the just-ended festive season, though business was generally low, we recorded a few returns,” said a bar owner at Checheche Growth Point, Job Mabika.

An elderly man at Magunje Growth Point said in an interview that the government should do more to resuscitate and give life to these dying growth points.

“There is no real development that has occurred here. The government promised to bring investment and create jobs for our youths, but nothing has happened and our youths continue to rely heavily on farming as a form of employment,” said 63-year-old Taona Chimusimbe.

A sociologist from the University of Zimbabwe Wisedom Ncube said to IPS: “During the 1980s many growth points were seeded by the government. Investors, mainly in the form of commercial businessmen, were helped to put up structures and start viable businesses, either as individuals or as co-operatives.”

“It seems as if most growth points are failing to attract meaningful investment except for the building of a few government departments and Grain Marketing Board silos, which have gradually become white elephants,” he said.

IPS said economists have attributed the failure to improve growth points to the current and prevailing economic conditions.

They believe that, to some extent, the government-induced fast-track land redistribution process could have triggered underdevelopment.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Your report lost its punch when you claimed that growth points were created after independence.For your own information these places have been there eons before independence.The new government simply renamed these service centres just like they renamed towns,cities,buildings etc.Whereas African townships dubbed locations, were renamed High Density Suburbs, it does not mean the post independence government created them.

    • May readers make a clear distinction btn a growth point and a rural service centre. Growth points were actually gazetted around 1982.

  2. Correct, in fact these rural centres were a lot more active before independence than they are now. Most shops at these centres closed down during the economic melt down caused by lack of management by central governments. I remember tichinotamba rarecords, buy one coke and it last you the whole day. Those were the days. Fast forward to today, most of the centres have become ghost centres and trees and weeds inhabit what used to shops. For sure some people have “the touch of dust”, everything they touch turns to dust.

  3. The Govt should play a role in resuscitating è growth points, eg, reducing corporate tax on companies that set up their businesses there. Lets ask our ourselves WHY, organisations from western world are shunning investing in our country?

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