Concert urges youths to fight drug abuse, early marriages Tryson Chimbetu performing in Dzivaresekwa on Saturday

Arts Reporter

A concert was held to mark the launch of a campaign against drug and substance abuse, early marriages and gender-based violence in  Dzivaresekwa, Harare, on Saturday.

Dubbed mini independence celebration, the event was organised by the Zimbabwe Network for Economic and Social Transformation (ZINEST).

It was held at Padziva Camp in the high-density suburb and was attended by scores of youths.

ZINEST took advantage of their presence to launch the campaign that will foster a spirit of responsibility among the young.

Led by top Dendera musician Tryson Chimbetu, other musicians who performed at the event included newcomers such as Queen Mamoyo, Tiara Bae, Inman, Anaya Dancer, Chrissy Bee, Mr Regie, Decolimit, Joe Chidida, Kristian Touch, Chibaba Ndisote, Sensei Richy, Marshy, Denny Prince and Dhanyero (Jnr Soul).

ZINEST founder and patron, Takemore Mazuruse, said it was important to celebrate the country’s independence while spreading a message to rid of social ills such as drug and substance abuse, early marriages and gender-based violence.

“It is of paramount importance to celebrate our country’s independence,” he said. “It is because of the liberation struggle that we are enjoying the fruits of our independence.

“As ZINEST we say to the youths ‘reject drug abuse’. We want our youths to be our future leaders, but that will not happen if they take drugs.

“Today we are not just saying no to drugs through words, but we are going to start empowerment projects that will create employment to keep the youths busy.”

Engineer Tafadzwa Mudzonga of GoldSwift, a local company which was one of the sponsors of the event, said they were committed to fighting drug abuse in the community.

“We decided to support this programme as part of our corporate social responsibility.

“We have to give back to the community that we operate in. As a company, we have also offered to employ some youths. We can take even those who didn’t do well at school, we have places for them,”  said Mudzonga.

The Government has been taking drug and substance abuse, early marriages and gender-based violence seriously.

Several measures, including legislation, have been put in place to fight cases of early marriages.

A Cabinet committee has since been established to specifically deal with drug and substance abuse.

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