Alcohol and drug abuse is on the rise in Mafenya, young people are often seen as early as 8 am consuming alcohol and some even smoking dagga and other drugs. High levels of unemployment are one of the main causes of alcohol and drug abuse.
Having spoke to a few young people in the area,the main reasons given were unemployment and lack of activities for young people in the area. Despite having four mines surrounding this community,unemployment remains high. The four mines surrounding it are namely BRPM,Stlydrift,Maseve and Xstrata. High levels of unemployment lead to hopelessness and this ultimately leads to abuse of alcohol and drugs to escape the reality of their situation. It is very disturbing to see young people in tarverns instead of being in classes or even working.
There has also been rumours of dagga and nyaope being sold and smoked at a local tavern in the area. Community members refuse to reveal details of the activities that go on at the tavern. The owner was not available for comment. Peer pressure also leads to abuse of alcohol and drugs. Lack of activities for young people was also the reason most of them seek entertainment in alcohol and drugs. Because there is no community centre and no youth activities there is nothing to keep them busy.
The abuse of alcohol leads to high levels of crime and school drop outs.
The Mafenya Youth Club has come up with ideas of how to keep young people occupied. Love life has agreed to hold workshops in the area. The youth committee of Mafenya Youth Club meet twice a week to discuss how they can create activities for young people. Other planned activities include workshops and film festivals from Workers World Media Productions. And a leadrship workshop will also be held to give young people leadership skills. NYDA will be invited and RBED.
We hope that these planned activities will put a stop to the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Young people are the future and we must work together to ensure that their future is bright. And mines must also be pushed to hire local young people and not import cheap labour.