The Zvishavane community has called on responsible authorities to relocate the newly established Midlands State University campus as a way of dealing with the rise in prostitution, drug abuse and gender based violence cases in the mining town.
This was revealed through a research carried out by Hands of Hope Trust, a community based organisation that focuses on women empowerment.
The research sought to find out how the establishment of the campus has influenced behavioural trends in Zvishavane.
Mrs Phiri is a housewife whose husband lost his job when Shabani mine closed a few years ago. Mrs Phiri recalls that though prostitution has always been rife in the mining town, the levels have significantly gone up since the campus was established in 2015.
“These girls from university will do anything for a quick buck. Way back we used to see prostitutes roaming around looking for clients. Now it’s even worse. The way these girls dress, they could as well be naked.”A pastor blamed the location of the campus for the increase in lack of morals.
“Our children no longer value their ubuntu. They walk around half naked, they drink like fish and some of them are moving chimneys; they are ever smoking. Everyday, the town is a hive of activity.”He said peer pressure was also forcing many to abandon their Christian values as most would rather go clubbing than attend church services.
“Our children abandon church as soon as they set their foot in Zvishavane. They go clubbing instead. At clubs most are introduced to alcohol, drugs and women. It is really sad because when our children fail to handle this new found freedom, they expose themselves to a host of ugly consequences like STIs, addiction, unwanted pregnancies, abortions and physical abuse among others.”
The Pastor said the campus was located in an area that does not offer the most conducive learning environment for students.
It would be better if the campus was moved to some place out of town,” added Mrs Munyavi.A health expert who preferred anonymity said Zvishavane had become a ticking time bomb. He said the town was initially meant to accommodate about 70 000 people but now had an excess of 120 000.
This is far above its carrying capacity. The establishment of the campus has only worsenaed the situation.”We are not only looking at sexually transmitted infections but cases of air borne diseases are likely to rise.
“We have seen a rise in TB cases in the last 2 years and we attribute this to overcrowding which has been worsened by the opening of the campus. We hope measures will be put in place to address accommodation challenges also taking into account that the available infrastructure can not sustain the current population,” said the health expert.
One of the biggest problem in Zimbabwe’s state owned universities is that they are being developed without the necessary accommodation facilities, leaving students -particularly the young ones who would be fresh out of high school- having to face various problems associated with having to find their own accommodation.