The pursuit of happiness in Harare has ascended to new levels. It seems nothing is off limits.
Inside Track with Grace Mutandwa
A quick browse on the international dating sites will always yield an array of men who describe themselves as being more exciting than they actually are in real life. They also use false names that sound real — Mike Muti or James Robinson. It gets interesting when you get country specific and you start looking for female company.
There is a snazzy site advertising casual Harare hook-ups. On offer are exotic women of all races promising to do untold things to make your body sing. This is clearly not dating but organised prostitution and carried out the only way it can be in a country where prostitution is a crime.
While the net provides an insight into what is happening in Harare, it does not really seem real until you hit the growing clubbing scene. The capital that never sleeps is fast becoming a consumer of hard drugs and prostitution is becoming classier.
A trip to one of the clubs that have sprouted in one of Harare’s Southern suburbs is indeed an eye-opener. There is the usual music and booze, but men who walk in without female company have a girl or two forced onto them. The club has probably finally caught on to the simple fact that men entertaining women usually spend more.
There are, I understand, under the table deals for the women to offer not just drinking companionship, but also naked fun and games. While this is going on, regulars can also buy drugs. It is a well-oiled machine and unless you belong to the expanding inner circle you might never know that there are cocaine sniffers and peddlers in the place.
It is one of apparently a few more clubs around the capital peddling flesh and hard drugs. The class of men who frequent these joints is also different from those who prefer the Rumba and Urban Grooves playing clubs. They are sleek and are rolling in cash. They drive top-of-the-range vehicles and drink single malt scotches.
In some countries members of the police drug squad usually have an ear to the ground and try to keep drug crimes down. I suppose in Zimbabwe it takes a very long time for the police to get up to speed or maybe there is simply no political will power to keep hard drugs out of the country.
We worry about the young boys and girls on the streets swigging bottles of Broncleer or other equally intoxicating cough mixtures. Wait until a smart drug lord takes them under his wing and gives them a taste of the real stuff and then turn them into mini sales outlets — all hell will break loose. The moment those young people discover that there is something better than cough mixture they will go to any lengths to lay their hands on it.
It should worry the authorities that Zimbabwe presents such a ready and willing market for the happy drugs. We have high unemployment statistics that should give any sensible politician sleepless nights. A growing population of idle minds is the perfect market for organised prostitution and drug pushing and peddling. The two make a sick but fine combination in moneymaking terms.
Right now the consumers of the drugs are the well-heeled, who belong to exclusive clubs, but it will not take long before the wealthy consumers start thinking of branching into the drug business too.
We are sitting on a timebomb. Young people with no jobs and no hope have absolutely nothing to lose — unemployed youths are a perfect marketing conduit. They will worship whoever walks into their lives promising a better life. Drugs will be dangled at our children, they will be promised flashy cars, trendy clothes and a bottomless pit of money.
Unless we do something to stop drugs entering the country, we will soon add to our growing list of unsavoury goods smuggled into the country — an array of hard drugs. If we are not going to legalise prostitution then we must ensure that it does not get out of control. We have got to want a better today and tomorrow for our children. Drugs destroy lives.
Grace Mutandwa is a Media Consultant, and published Author. She can be reached at:
Twitter handle: @GraceMutandwa1 Skype: Wisteria42