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Let’s confront student bullying, drug abuse head-on

Wayne’s death comes after weeks of reported rampant bullying at a number of schools, an issue we feel is not being adequately addressed by government and the Zimbabwean society in general.

LAST week, Zimbabwe lost one very young and promising life in the form of Wayne Ndlovu.

The late Wayne, who was a student at Founders High School in Bulawayo, was stabbed to death by another student from neighbouring Hamilton High, in one of the most gruesome acts of bullying to come out of the country’s school environment this millennium.

Wayne was buried last week in a very sombre atmosphere with many wondering what has become of the Zimbabwean society, which is now witnessing such callousness proliferating in our young generation: A generation that is currently under siege from a drug scourge that has claimed even more young lives.

Wayne’s death comes after weeks of reported rampant bullying at a number of schools, an issue we feel is not being adequately addressed by government and the Zimbabwean society in general.

We believe the issue of bullying and its twin evil of drug abuse in schools are immoralities that Zimbabwe, as a nation, needs to nip in the bud from the family to the national level. We believe Zimbabwe has slowly lost its moral campus from the family level by allowing the extended family to disintegrate; yet it was one of the crucial building blocks to well-knit and strong communities that truly cared for each other and respected the sanctity of life.

Over the years the extended family has, unfortunately, generally fragmented to a point that family members hardly care about each other, which has resulted in the young generation copying behaviours that are not only alien to Zimbabwe but to other nations as well.

In the good old days, the moral and physical well-being and development of a child were the responsibility of every adult member of any given community across the country. This meant that young people could not misbehave in any way because there were eyes all over watching their every move. Although wayward behaviour such as bullying was not uncommon, it was always kept in check by society’s collective efforts.

The family nucleus was strengthened by aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins or other relatives, all living in the same homestead, or nearby or even far away. Other people, unrelated to the family, also took it upon themselves to monitor the family’s children and vice-versa, resulting in a people who really cared for each other.

As things stand, this olden day scenario is now a fairy tale, so foreign that Zimbabwean families need to urgently revisit how they are bringing up their children because remaining aloof because their children may not be victims of bullying and drug abuse does not make any family safe from these twin evils.

Zimbabweans need to come together and craft ways to make the environment safe for the upbringing of children. Legislators on the other hand should enact laws that protect the vulnerable from bullying and drug abuse.

Bullies and drug peddlers, targeting the young, currently roam our streets like rabid hyenas simply because the social fabric has been broken and our government cares less yet we claim to be an orderly society. Zimbabwe can no longer afford to countenance the moral decadence associated with bullying and drug abuse ravaging the young generation because the country’s very existence depends on reining in these twin evils.

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