By Providence Maraneli
THE community leaders of Sanzukwe in Mangwe have set up youth empowerment initiatives that will deter them from substance and drug abuse in line with the government’s development agenda.
There was a hive of activity at Sanzukwe Primary School in Mangwe District where youths from all corners of Bukalanga converged for different sporting codes.
Dubbed the ‘Unity Cup’, the event which was organised by community leaders to unite youths and redirect their focus from crossing the borders to South Africa or Botswana and work on transforming their lives through different government programmes.
For the youths the initiative gives them the opportunity to show case their talent and deter them from drug and substance abuse.
A youth said, “We are so grateful for this initiative. We were just idle and now we will be able to showcase our talents. Maybe one day big teams like Highlanders will see us.”
“We don’t find time for drugs because we are mainly focusing on the tournament so the period running to this event people will be free from drugs,” said another youth.
For the community leaders, their wish is to see a drug-free youth society that will work for the development of the country.
Coaches from different teams also wished for the best for the young teams.
“Look, what our youths think of after Grade 7 or Form 4 is going to South Africa and nothing productive comes of it and we are trying to encourage them to stay behind. In my team, whoever I find smoking or taking any substance is out so we want to have a youth that is drug-free. We want big teams from Bulawayo to come and scout from these youths. This is not only about football, if a team wins they get R10000 and they will use that money for a youth project and it is important.”
With the government following the inclusive development trajectory, the inclusion of the youths from once marginalised communities cannot be overemphasised.
“Our President is saying no one and no place should be left behind in the development matrix and us as the community leaders here, we are fighting to make sure that we empower our youths, through these initiatives. We have goats, pigs and poultry projects that these youths will benefit from. But we said first let us unite them through sport, them they become organised,” said Cde Goldwater, Lukuta ZANU PF Matabeleland South Secretary for Security.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently launched the Jinjika Presidential rural horticulture scheme that is already transformed lives in the same community.