The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Street Madness Says No to Drug Abuse

Youths in any society occupy a delicate and sensitive position within the population structure for several reasons. They are often referred to as the future leaders, but what will become of the future, if many teenagers' lives lie in oblivion?

What has become worrisome nowadays is the rate at which teenagers are abusing drugs and losing focus with what to do in life.

Every time there is a show at any given entertainment hub, teenagers are always seen frequenting the place with the intention of either enjoying taking drugs in small groups, cuddling and driving immaculate modern vehicles.

Having been allowed to enjoy themselves, they decide to make merry on a different note. These teens are either school dropouts or the ones still attending school who often mix and mingle with no focus of what will become of their lives.

Several types of drugs are susceptible to abuse by these youths. They range from the most common and less expensive such as cigarettes and alcohol to expensive and more deadly such as cocaine, marijuana and heroin.

However, an energetic four-member dance group from Mbare named "Street Madness" has taken a swipe at drug abusers. Instead of spending their quality time drinking and smoking, the youthful dancehall dancers have invested all their energy on the dance floor.

"Street Madness" was born sometime last year. During the formative stages, the group danced for fun in the streets. Leading the entourage is Clifford "Spackle" Siyanga (16), followed by Paul "General" Murwira (19), William "Swagga" Malumenda (18) and lastly, Colleens "Jacko" Chatima (17).

"We settled on the name Street Madness since we started dancing on the streets and it was indeed an unusual sight for many people seeing us getting down on the streets," said Siyanga.

They invented dances like "Zora Butter-2012" most popular with the sungura ace Alick Macheso, a social ditty, "Mbavha iyo paMbare" from Sniper, Steady Mpfaname and "Haiite" from Winky D, just to mention a few.

"When we started the group there were three of us before one of us left for Bulawayo where he is now staying. We conscripted another versatile dancer Colleens Chatima," added Siyanga.

They fell in love with dance and wish to take it to a higher level.

"Since we started, we have never had a stint with established groups. Currently, we have managed to clinch a deal with Red Fox where we are now plying our trade performing every Sunday," chipped in Murwira.

The zealous youths, however, bemoaned name duplication with some of the teens who are now calling themselves "Streetmadness".

Siyanga took a swipe at them saying that they should learn to be professional and creative.

"We have learned with shock that there are these guys whom we once clashed with and later joined us but their stay was shortlived. After the deal failed to materialise, they went on to form their own group using our name."

"Our message to other youths is that one does not be a loser all the time but should aim high and be focused, optimistic and should bear in mind that practice makes perfect," he said.

The group warned that it is important for different stakeholders to reiterate the dangers of drug abuse in general and to youths involved in it.

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