Whinsley Masara Chronicle Reporter
POLICE in Bulawayo, in conjunction with the National Aids Council (Nac), Childline and Justice for Children have intensified campaigns to alert school children to the dangers of house party binges.
Pupils often go on a bender at the binges, also known as Vuzu parties, Nac officials have said.
They said unsupervised children often engaged in “sexual marathons”, drug and alcohol abuse at the shindigs.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo told pupils at Foundation College that they risked throwing away their future for an hour of pleasure.
The college is the 15th Bulawayo school to host the campaign.
“We aren’t after arresting those behind the parties but are here to educate them and make them aware of the dangers encountered at these parties,” said Insp Moyo.
He said the crimes intoxicated pupils committed during and after the parties could affect them in future when they wanted to fulfil their dreams and a background check was done.
Insp Moyo said pupils risked becoming infected with diseases or unwanted pregnancies as they could be molested once they got too drunk to defend themselves.
Bulawayo Nac Coordinator, Sinatra Nyathi told The Chronicle last week that the organisation had teamed up with the police in its campaigns against the parties and was visiting schools in the city.
“During these parties, they engage in what is called the $5 party deals where they’ve sexual intercourse races to compete and see who would have slept with the highest number of girls in a given time,” she said.
Nyathi told pupils Vuzu parties had increased the HIV prevalence rate among those below the age of 24 in the country.
She said: “What is disturbing is that you don’t use protection, worse you’re having group sex. That is why we highly discourage you from attending these parties.
“I want to warn and educate you on HIV and Aids because it is a reality. You young people have a low personal risk perception of thinking you are young and cannot be affected by the diseases when you have unprotected sex. That is a totally wrong perception.”
Nyathi said lodge owners were taking part in the organisation of Vuzu parties by providing venues.
Doris Luwaca, Childline Zimbabwe Outreach Programme’s officer said the effects and consequences of Vuzu parties were far reaching.
“Some of you are raped and it haunts you for the rest of your lives. I’m here to advise you to stay out of trouble. I know parties are enjoyable, especially to people of your age, but the after effects of Vuzu parties are not worth the fun.”
She encouraged pupils who were abused to seek help from Childline.
Luwaca said some pupils were gang raped after blacking out due to drugs and alcohol.
“Be responsible for yourself and avoid those of bad influence so that you grow up a complete and happy being without regrets,” she said.
Luwaca discussed types of sexual abuse, fights, pregnancies, sexual transmitted infections and the consequences of Vuzu parties with the pupils.
Paralegal of the Justice for Children, Phayi Moyo said the binges posed a dilemma for her organisation.
“It’s becoming difficult for us when we have to protect an underage girl who has been raped by a schoolboy who needs our protection as well,” she said.
In a bid to stop the hosting of the parties, the police have opened a WhatsApp number platform 0776 097 122 which members of the public can use to give information to the police or Childline.
The number can be accessed free of charge across all networks.