The secret behind some drugs

THE culture of drug abuse in the high density suburbs of Bulawayo and other areas is slowly destroying the lives of the youths who are popularly known as Ama-2000.

The exposure of this generation to the most dangerous and expensive drugs that include crystal meth, cough syrup and mangemba has seen a lot of youths being involved in crime in an effort to maintain the expensive lifestyle.

In an effort to have a full appreciation of this new culture B-Metro last week visited inmates under juveniles section at Bulawayo Prison and caught up with *Victor Mazila (17), who is serving a 24-month jail sentence for robbery that he committed under the influence of drugs.

“My problems started five years ago soon after dropping out of school as my parents had discovered that I was absconding my lessons. They thought I had turned to be a waste in the family.

“The idea of dropping out of school meant that I was now exposed to all types of people that were in my community. While at home I met these other friends of mine, who had also dropped out of school and they started introducing me to drugs,”he said.

The juvenile said while taking those drugs they experimented with everything they came across to establish if they could get high at a low cost as the common drugs were too expensive for daily consumption.

From these experiments they discovered that these substances had different side effects on the body.

These experiments saw the youths taking drugs that ranged from crystal meth, Benylin cough syrup, mangemba and dagga mixed with embalming powder to produce a product called nyaope.

“I would like to believe peer pressure had a serious effect on my life as I was growing up. On a daily basis we would take any substance that we would come across with the hope that we would get high without using a lot of money.

“From these experiments we discovered that these substances had various effects on us.

“Some of the drugs that we took included crystal meth and once we took it we would feel too energetic such that I could work without getting tired and I could go for three days without sleeping.

“Benylin is another drug that we used to take and once taken one would be inactive in street lingo they say uyastikha, while inactive one can be very dangerous if provoked because of that substance.

“We went on to take mangemba, which is a drug used in controlling mental patients. This drug makes one inactive but violent when provoked,” he said.

The inmate said he took drugs for more than five years and fought with almost everyone from his community and even his family members under the influence of drugs. This behaviour later saw him arming himself with a pocket knife as a mechanism for self-defence.

“While taking drugs I discovered that all my relations with almost everyone had been broken so I thought it was wise for me to buy a pocket knife to use for self-defence.

“My wild behaviour in the community made a lot of people not to trust me in all aspects as I could do anything to anyone since they knew that I was always armed,” he said.

The inmate said his involvement in drugs later forced him to get into crime full-time as he could not afford to raise US$50-00 per day to buy the drugs he required with his team.

“When I got into drugs I never thought it was that expensive but with time I discovered that I had adopted an expensive lifestyle that required me to work very hard.

“The only way that could help us get that money within a short space of time was crime. We started mugging people in different places and little did we know that this was our route to prison,”he said.

The inmate said on the day in question he got an invitation from a friend to attend a party but he was required to bring at least US$50-00 to buy alcohol to be consumed at the venue. 


Ncube said as he had no money he was forced to walk around their suburb looking for an unsuspecting resident whom he could rob and get the amount required at the party.

“As I was moving around I met this guy, who was walking alone. When I spoke to him I discovered that he was holding a cell phone so I produced my pocket knife  and demanded everything that he had.

“He gave me 3000 rands and two cell phones and immediately I disappeared into the darkness and I went straight to the party,” he said.

The inmate said while at the party the imbibers had a misunderstanding and they started fighting, stabbing each other and police officers were informed leading to a raid that saw everyone in the venue being arrested.

“When we got to the police station I bumped into my victim and he positively identified me as we were being escorted into the charge office. The police were tipped and I was taken to the cells as others were made to pay fines.

“The police officers recovered the phones that I had stolen and the matter was taken to court, where I was found guilty and sentenced to 24 months in prison on charges of robbery,” he said.

Soon after conviction the inmate was taken to Bulawayo Prison to immediately start serving his sentence.

Life was not easy but he was offered an opportunity to be trained in entrepreneurial skills.

“I am happy to inform you that prison has helped me a lot in withdrawing from drugs and I know that by the time I complete my jail term I would be a totally different person.

“I have gained weight my brother. With drugs you don’t even eat properly but now I eat on time and that is really helpful.

“I had an opportunity to be trained on the skills of entrepreneurship and from that course I have noted that there is a better life from running your own projects,” he said.

The inmate urged youths to stay away from drugs as it was killing a lot of youths and an expensive culture that was not easy to stop once started.


Inmates are separated according to age to avoid hardening young offenders?

*Not his real name. Under-age prisoner not named for legal reasons.

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