Whesly Handiseni Midlands State University
EVERY programme at tertiary level is essential in life. The reason why it is found there is that it matures the mind of the student pursuing the programme.
Some programmes, on the face of it, are considered time-wasting as they will be no immediate apparent value that comes out of them.
Some students do not believe that one can pursue a degree that appears to have no occupation. However, the secret is that one person can make a difference by becoming his or her own boss — by opening up an organisation, company or industry which is related to the programme that one would have studied.
When applying for a programme at universities one sees a vast number of students in most known programmes of Social Sciences, Science and Technology, Commerce, Law, Medicine and others.
With such numbers it is impossible to employ all the students in the sense that they are too many and there are limitations in terms of employment opportunities.
However, there are other programmes like Natural Resource Management and Agriculture, Arts and Education, which are dormant in the mindset of today’s youths.
When looking for programmes to apply for, one hears: “what can I do with a degree on Agricultural Practice? I can do it on my own” or “why do I have to study Archaeology which is not considered one of the best degree programmes in the country”.
When youths think that they are not capable of studying these programmes they look for office-work related programmes only where they do their work easily without much effort. This leads to enrolment of many students in such courses.
A piece of advice: No degree programme is worthless. Be confident of choosing what you want, even if you are few or are the only one studying such a programme. Take it to heart that you can change the nation with the skills and ideas that you would have studied.
Think change, think differently!
Midlands State University
The mbaura/brazier has become one of the most useful stoves which uses saw dust and small bits of wood as fuel.
The mbaura/brazier is especially popular in the high-density areas and other places in and around Harare during this lockdown.
Ever since the electricity tariffs by Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) went up, it has been hard for most residents to afford electricity that caters for every electrical gadget in the home.
This has resulted in most people using electricity for gadgets such as lights that do not use up electricity while the electrical cooking stove has been replaced by the mbaura stove. The mbaura is popular because of its affordability. The stove uses wood shavings, saw dust and small wood cuttings. Some people buy these products from Glen View 8 Complex for warmth during this winter and for cooking. Other people are even making brisk business out of selling the saw dust-buying it from the source for resale in the high-density areas.
A 50 kg bag of saw dust which lasts up to two weeks costs 30 dollars but is resold for 40 to 50 dollars making a profit of 10 to 20 dollars.
In many parts of Harare the use of mbaura/brazier has become more popular because of its affordability over paraffin, gas and electricity. The saw dust used in the mbaura/brazier stove is very affordable, catering for small to big family. The mbaura/brazier stove is easily made from empty tins of paint, with a hole cut near the bottom of the tin for feeding in the wood and enabling air circulation, which fans embers and flames.
The mbaura/brazier has reclaimed its popularity as it did back in 2008 due to this period of lockdown, where most people are financially distressed.
Some of the residents say that they use the mbaura/brazier stove for multiple activities such as cooking, heating rooms and heating bathing water, especially during this winter season in order to avoid catching a cold.
There is cut-throat competition among sellers of the saw dust as people are opting for them due their affordability.
Midlands State University
At times, it is circumstances on the ground that are push factors leading most university students to engage in no good deeds in order to survive throughout the semester.
As the semester progresses, things become harsh for many students because prices of almost everything begin to rise — that is food, rentals, transport and even the tuition fees. This affects most university students negatively as most parents can only afford tuition fees.
Therefore in order to survive, some students have turned into selling drugs on behalf of drug dealers. Some sell morning after pills and even whiskey on campus.
Other students have become shop lifters as one male student was recently arrested for stealing a drink and rice because of hunger. Some students — both males and females — have found for themselves rich old men and women as their financial breakthrough.
However, this creates many problems for students as some of them end up with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) or even HIV as these rich people tend to sleep with multiple students and some of the students have been harassed, embarrassed and humiliated by their blessers’ wives as was the recent case at a university in the capital where a rich old man had bought his student lover a car.
When the old man’s wife found out, she went to the institution and humiliated the girl in front of other students.
For most students, it is not always by choice that they are involved in such habits in order to afford basics.
Midlands State University
When students start tertiary education, a new life awakens. Many join social circles which affect their lives, for some negatively, while for others, positively.
Some students end up doing unimaginable things just to fit in or to get fame that is temporary. Such actions, however, leave scars that never disappear.
One former student explains: “The friends that we choose have an impact on our lives. I joined a group of girls who wore trendy clothes, new hairstyles every week, had the latest cell phones and seemed to have it all. Little did I know where all these luxuries came from? But that did not matter to me because all I wanted was to be part of the circle.
“In order to keep up, I started dating different old men just for money and they convinced me that there was nothing wrong to it and some of the girls also introduced me to rich men. I had two abortions. Now I am married but am not able to conceive because my womb was affected.”
While some students wallow in pain due to the social circles they choose, some find good company that inspires them to dream big and their lives are transformed in a positive way.
Another student said when she started her first year, fortunately she found someone who made her realise that she was wasting her time and energy. The person challenged her to aim high and focus on her studies. She graduated with a first class and is a proud chief executive officer of her own company. In as much as peer pressure is real, everyone has the power to say no to bad influence, the power to make right decisions and the power to choose the right path to walk because our future is in our hands and minds.