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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Addressing drug abuse and fostering innovation: The need for recreational facilities and innovation hubs in ghettos

Article by Timothy Kuhamba

It is disheartening to witness a high prevalence of drug abuse among the youth in my hometown of Chitungwiza.

The problem is alarmingly real, as I have encountered former schoolmates who appear much older than their actual age due to the detrimental effects of drugs.

Even some popular artists like Dobba Don, T Gonzi and Blot have not been immune to the scourge. It is crucial that we address this issue urgently and implement effective measures to prevent further harm to our community’s young generation.

In the past, there were instances of students or children engaging in smoking marijuana, but the impact was not as severe as the drugs prevalent today. Previously, we had recreational areas such as soccer grounds and open spaces designated for residential purposes.

While I understand that our population has grown, it begs the question of whether it is necessary to replace recreational facilities entirely with residential areas.

If these stadiums or open spaces were originally intended for residential use, there should also be provisions to replace the recreational facilities.

I am concerned about the fate of the Chitungwiza tennis court, which hosted tennis player Andre Agassi, as well as the Aquatic complex that held the All-Africa Games in 1995 and the open spaces once used for soccer.

There is a need for maintenance of these facilities so that there are in good shape. The importance of recreational facilities in combating drug abuse cannot be underestimated.

Their disappearance, along with the rise of bedroom studios, has contributed to the prominence of Zim dancehall, a genre closely linked to the challenges of the ghetto. The absence of these spaces has had a negative impact, as they provide opportunities for healthy activities and act as a deterrent to drug abuse.

Reclaiming and revitalising these areas or establishing alternative recreational spaces within the community is essential. By doing so, we can foster positive engagement, talent development, and the nurturing of aspirations, ultimately reducing the appeal of drug abuse.

Furthermore, recreational facilities play a vital role in promoting physical and mental well-being, fostering a sense of belonging, and strengthening social bonds.

By rejuvenating these spaces, we can create an environment that encourages positive growth, resilience, and unity among those living in the ghetto.

Shouldn’t we also establish technological innovation hubs in our communities? Wouldn’t this foster technological advancement? Perhaps the government could subsidize technological products used for education to encourage youth participation in the development of innovative products.

I commend the Government’s introduction of innovation hubs, and I strongly urge the youth to make use of these opportunities. Do you believe that innovation hubs are needed in the ghetto? For instance, Takashinga cricket club was established in Highfield, resulting in numerous players from the area representing the national team. Similar initiatives, such as introducing innovation hubs in Chitungwiza, Mbare, Makokoba, and Highfields, could help combat drug abuse in major urban areas.
It is worth noting that the rise of drug abuse can also be attributed to technological advancements.

However, the question remains: what actions need to be taken?

Sometimes, it is difficult to fully grasp the gravity of these stories without having a close connection to someone who has been profoundly affected by drugs.

However, we can utilize technology for good.

For instance, tech-savvy individuals from affected areas can develop mobile applications and online platforms that provide resources for preventing, treating, and supporting recovery from drug abuse. These platforms can offer access to helplines, educational materials, and tools for tracking progress in maintaining sobriety.

It is crucial to acknowledge that our own problems often necessitate our unique solutions due to our deep understanding of the specific environment we inhabit. By leveraging our technological skills and addressing the specific needs of our communities, we can make a meaningful impact in combating drug abuse and providing support to those affected by it.

What about individuals who have grown up in the ghetto and achieved success? They can play a crucial role in addressing drug abuse by sharing their personal stories of overcoming challenges and combating drug addiction. Hearing these stories from someone you know and admire can have a more profound impact and serve as a source of encouragement and inspiration.

Rather than resigning ourselves to a doomed generation, we should take action and utilize the resources at our disposal to combat drug abuse. There are things we can do to make a difference. By leveraging the experiences and successes of those who have overcome adversity, we can form a united front against drug abuse.

Let us not remain idle. Instead, let’s work together to create a supportive environment where individuals can share their stories, denounce drug use, and provide messages of hope and resilience.

By harnessing the power of these personal stories, we can instil a sense of determination and empower others to make positive choices.

Remember, we have the capacity to make a lasting impact and overcome the challenges we face. By joining forces and using our collective strength, we can combat drug abuse and create a brighter future for ourselves and future generations.

While I acknowledge the Government’s efforts in combating drug abuse through measures like cracking down on drug lords and other individuals organizing Zimdancehall events in Chitungwiza, it is essential to recognize that drug abuse remains an ongoing issue that demands continuous engagement.

We should move beyond one-time events and shows and commit to consistently addressing drug-related problems in our society. To achieve this, we can create more songs raising awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and establish a continuous musical campaign dedicated to this cause.

Sharing testimonies of individuals who have successfully recovered from drug addiction can also serve as a powerful tool for education and inspiration.

By implementing these strategies, we can strengthen our fight against drug abuse and foster a healthier society.

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