Young people have blamed the lack of recreational facilities in Gweru for their drug abuse and indulgence in early sexual activities.
Most urban local authorities used to operate recreational parks, libraries, youth centres, and art theatres, among other facilities that young people would utilise for recreation. However, due to financial hardships many councils can no longer maintain such infrastructure and most of it is now in a sorry state.
Gweru City, like many other urban centres, no longer has functional recreational facilities and youth clubs, as the available ones have either become derelict or have been leased out to churches and other private organisations.
According to some Gweru youths, most of them spend their time idle at home or in the streets and thus end up taking to drugs and other risky behaviours to pass time.
“We used to play in parks (recreational) on those slides and swings, like in Mkoba 1 there was an open space with slides we played on. They (children) don`t have slides to play on anymore, they actually don`t know the games we used to play, such as nhodo or pada,” said one young man.
Another young person, Takudzwa Samhembere stated: “The young people are engaging in early sexual activities because they have nothing to do and they lack guidance. If you look at many of them these days, they can tell you where all the lodges in town are.”
Lodges have become popular spots for hookups by young people or any other who want to engage in usually adulterous and “unorthodox” sexual activities.
The young people said the availability of recreational centres would help them refrain from vice as they would use such facilities for socially and economically productive activities.