Morris Mtisi Post Correspondent
Schools, colleges and universities are on fire. If saying most of them are Sodoms and Gomorrahs is too strong, then we do not have a clue what is happening in them. May be we do not live in Zimbabwe even.
Newspapers and radios are daily reporting shocking moral behaviour in these gehenas, especially of a sexual nature. Instead of being places where people in these institutions know better, they have become open conduits for the spread of not only HIV and AIDS and related illnesses, but typical brothels.
Newspapers and reporters can only use vocabulary they are familiar with. Otherwise some of what goes on in these educational institutions has no words in the dictionary to describe the behaviour amongst the inmates. The girls are worse than prostitutes and sex has become a mere sport and source of entertainment. I will hasten to say not all are in this kind of hell.
Notwithstanding, while some of us are still in the shock of gay and lesbian practices in the education institutes of all places, with some schools openly confessing nothing wrong, too many students are a step ahead treating sex as a sport worthy of including in the new curriculum or school games competitions if the students had their way.
In the midst of this little talked about behavioural pandemic in the schools, the teachers in Manicaland led by the Anglican schools and Independent Colleges in Mutare have taken the bull by the horns and launched a Girls of Substance Movement intended to mobilise response against student prostitution and other forms of behavioural decay amongst learners.
It may be almost too late now but never too late to introduce relevant advocacy in schools which may save a significant number of students at any level of education, students who may be waiting to join the ‘dead’ in behaviour and morality.
Education and schools used to be the source of hope and a future. Today they are conduits of moral decadence and the dirtiest of earthly hells. The most frightening place on earth to send your daughter today is a boarding high school, a college and university. We say this knowing it is not every boy and girl who is morally filthy and dead in these centres. There are many boys and girls who will not be moved by the earthquake of sexual immorality, drug taking and abuse and other forms of ‘dying slowly’, but not many enough. And who knows for how long even these will remain standing?
The Chairperson of the recently launched GIRLS OF SUBSTANCE MOVEMENT was recently on Diamond FM Radio pushing an agenda of the right advocacy against what he described as “a behavioural time bomb” that may soon explode into the faces of the students and learners who continue to lack substance in their behaviour and the teachers, parents and society that continue to stand aside and look.
“The GIRLS OF SUBSTANCE MOVEMENT is an SOS movement aimed at making an alarm cry to the communities, the schools, colleges and universities to develop brains and improve pass rates, but never to make the mistake of totally ignoring moral rearmament,” said Mr Joseph Chivhuro on radio.
“We want schools to create a new girl and a new student. Most of them are intelligent, beautifully and wonderfully made as only their God could make them. But they lack the substance we are talking about. We want to empower and educate the girls until they know and appreciate how they are creators of destiny. We want in this movement to assure the girl learner of the power she has to change the school, society and Zimbabwe.”
The Mutare Herentals College principal, a part of the Herentals Group of Colleges and Schools in Zimbabwe said the family unit and church were losing grip on the socialisation of the girl child. “As they continue to use the same sermons, rules and regulations, the students grow worse in behaviour and turn every opportunity into behavioural fun most of it characterised by stinking sexual jamborees and partying, drug taking and abuse and everything dirty you can imagine,” he said.
“Church has always been a source of character moulding but owing to corruption and secularisation, its effect too has diminished. Most churches are sources of horrible stories of moral decadence and infidelity. Children no longer trust adult liars, actors, and actresses. They are tired of church drama acted by Christians talking good and doing bad.
We want this movement to assist churches, school, college and university heads and everybody else with the same vision of substance of behaviour and character in our children. We want to create girls of substance today but in doing so create wives and mothers of substance for tomorrow.”
How does GIRLS OF SUBSTANCE MOVEMENT hope to succeed where others dismally failed?
Answered Mr Chivhuro: “Our new approach is to involve the girls to achieve change together. Force, rules and regulations, punishment, have all failed. The more these are enforced, the more our children become wild. Wherever force is exerted there is resistance, as if we have all forgotten. These girls must be part of the solution. We cannot continue to shut our doors and gates at home leaving the inside doors and gates of these girls open. The doors of the girls’ hearts must be shut too. The inside gate must be shut first. Then we can ignore shutting the home doors and gates…and our children will still come home in time. Behaviour change must be intrinsic. It must be from within.
If schools, colleges and universities fail to produce exit profiles with substance, what is the effect of this failure on future marriages and family? It is our belief that a girl of substance will grow into a wife and mother of substance.”
Ms Caroline Vhare(nee Mukuchira), a teacher at Face-To-Face Academy in Mutare, speaking on the same radio programme summarised her conviction and advocacy in a telling Shona proverb: “Vanasikana vedu muzvikoro umu tapota, musapwanye zvirongo musati masvika kutsime.” Do not break the water-carrying clay pot before reaching the water-hole.
Mrs Mhandu of St David’s Bonda warned the girls: “Do not be like open cast mines where the sought-after is there on the surface; cheap and waiting to be picked up. Be like the subterranean mines, deep…almost bottomless and almost unreachable except by the highly determined, mechanised and genuine miner. The costly diamond and gold is mined deep down the bowels of the earth, not on the surface. Do not be cheap minerals. Makakosha vana vedu.(You are precious girls…you are girls of substance) Behave just like that,” she said.
Indeed wise words from wise female teachers and themselves women of substance!
Mr Chivhuro concluded the Diamond FM Radio advocacy on the popular education programme, Head-To-Head with MM, by appealing to schools to take the movement for girls of substance seriously. He urged them to help sustain its vision and mission of moral rearmament within the education sector and appealed to parents and other organisations with a similar agenda to join hands and speak with one voice. He suggested that even local politicians and indeed ultimately the State President must add a voice in the fight against behavioural cholera in schools, colleges and universities. “We must create schools, colleges and universities, not animal kingdoms,” he said.