Campus reflections

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Dionne Machaya

Midlands State University
Incidents of forced intimacy are rife on university campuses across the country. They go unreported because often the victims are too ashamed to report the cases.

Although people do not get to talk about it that much, forced intimacy among students is a common occurrence. A lot of female students are being taken advantage of by their lovers, friends and even lecturers.

People do not talk about such issues mainly because of the “shame” it brings. The victims are suppressed. What men need to understand is that a “NO” means the person is not interested in whatever it is they want to say or do.

A lot of young women are being raped but not all the cases are reported. These young women are afraid of how society views the whole issue because they are the ones that are always seen as having instigated the act. Society seems to believe that it’s females that lead men on to commit such acts. A lot of men would say it’s the way these female students dress that awakens certain feelings leading to rape. Women no longer feel safe because the ones meant to protect are the ones who abuse and violate women.  Do men feel superior, muscular after taking away a woman’s pride?  Does that make them man enough?

These men are supposed to be our brothers, fathers and uncles but when they take advantage of us they do it without any forethought or sense of remorse.

The wound left inside, the trauma and the scars are reminders of how one’s dignity would have been forcefully taken away. Already you have been killed emotionally, physically and to make it worse, one cannot even tell people about the violation because they end up judging us.

Many end up suggesting that it was the female student who seduced the man, so whatever took place all fingers point at the woman.  In the end we suffer more because we cannot share what happened. So we bottle it up. We try to forget but it’s killing us every day while these men are out there carrying on with their lives as if nothing ever happened.  My prayer is for a free and happy environment where a woman is free to wear what she wants, walking care-free on the streets without being scared of harassment, abuse or rape. Protect these women and let’s put an end to rape.

Break the silence by speaking to a therapist or someone trustworthy because silence breeds hatred, depression and even suicidal tendencies. Break the silence and talk about it. Who knows, you might be helping someone who was about to commit suicide due to self-condemnation. Most importantly, forgiving yourself is the first step to healing.


Ngonidzashe Emmanuel Chikandiwa

Midlands State University

“Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body,” these profound words by Richard Steele are better understood by a youth network in Chiredzi that recently launched the #booktherapy movement.

“Booktherapy”, formally termed bibliotherapy or therapeutic storytelling is a creative art modality that encompasses storytelling or the reading of specific texts with the purpose of healing.

A cursory search on the Internet reveals it uses an individual’s relationship to the content of books as therapy and has shown to be effective in the treatment of depression.

The Chiredzi youth network, Coalition Against Child Labour in Zimbabwe, focuses mainly on eradication of child labour in the region.  It started the project following realisation that the Covid-19 pandemic had shaken the mental state of people. In isolation, many have become victims of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and many other mental problems, that have in worst case scenarios resulted in suicide cases.  They have been inviting book donations from interested parties, book for all ages that are educative, informative and non-discriminatory or explicit.

The books are then donated to far off places or are borrowed from the network’s centre. The initial response has been encouraging. Says the network’s Realise Maposa: “We want to enhance healthy escapism, especially for youths, whose usual choice of escapism is destructive. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

Under lockdown, juvenile delinquency continues to multiply at a rapid pace. An engaging read, it is believed, can save youths from activities that lead  them to encounter a multiplicity of dangers.

Despite the current restrictions on long distance travelling, the youths are hopeful that the immediate impact of their project will be positive.

Lois-Ruth S. Mawoza

Midlands State University

One would think that institutions of higher learning are places where mature minds are nurtured, but bullying remains one of the challenges students experience.

Cyberbullying has become more widespread with the advent of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp employed to denigrate and victimize others.

Cyberbullying is deadly because bullies can torment their victims 24/7 online.

The trend of taking pictures of fellow classmates while they are presenting with the intention to ridicule how they look, their clothes and hairstyles is a norm on campuses.

Body shammers also have the tendency of capturing photographs of their victims while they are unaware and posting them on social media thus drawing negative attention towards their figures.

That is one of the reasons some students go into depression. Even lecturers are not spared as pictures of memes in which they feature constantly circulate in classroom groups throughout the semester.

Research has shown that bullies tend to be people who are arrogant and narcissistic, who use bullying as a tool to hide anxiety or to boost their self-esteem. Some bullies have also been victims of bullying themselves, therefore by demeaning others, they seem to believe they are empowered. Other reasons for bullying include envy and jealousy.

Sadly, bullying does not end at school because even adults get bullied in their day-to-day lives or at their work places. One unfortunate case of cyberbullying was that of the late Chadwick Boseman, the first black superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), who was constantly criticized for his dramatic weight loss.

Little did people know that he had been battling stage III colon cancer for four years as it slowly progressed to stage IV.

Chadwick Boseman was bullied into deleting pictures on Instagram and turning off the comment section. While it is human nature to judge what we do not understand, it is important to be kind to others and treat fellow beings in a way that we, too, would like to be treated.

In as much as we are entitled to our own opinions and freedom of speech, our words should not be the reason for the suffering of others.  Some people are bullied for having different opinions, but the sooner society learns that just because someone disagrees, doesn’t necessarily mean they are an enemy, the world will be a better place.

Victims of bullying of any form should be reminded that they are not a reflection of who their bullies say they are, rather it is a direct reflection of who the bullies are.

A person whose heart is full of envy, jealousy, pain, hate and anger can only speak and act what is in the abundance of their heart. It is difficult for such people to speak love and kindness. Instead of fearing bullies, we should pity them for they are the ones in need of our sympathy the most.



Florence R T  Banda

Midlands State University

Covid-19 took away a lot of things and even routine habits from students.

Lectures are introduced online and one now has to learn to work around a cellphone or other devices.

The data needed to for these lectures costs almost the equivalent of some parents’ salary for a whole month, even as some students have not even been introduced to smart phones or devices with internet capacity.

Convincing a parent to buy such an expensive phone for his or her child is an uphill task.  For students staying in rural areas where network is unreliable, where connectivity seldom works and the cost of data is always rising, the challenges are daunting.

Learning online is a distraction on its own, a huge expense as well an unreliable source of education.

Imagine the predicament of students who can barely understand face-to-face lectures. What prospects are there in understanding how to manipulate a phone with different applications and messages?

It is important that students get back to their normal routine.

The question is how best do we send students back to school under the current conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Schools need to practise safer routines such as introducing sanitizers and physical distancing in every lecture room because although it is important that schools open, protecting the lives of the nation’s future is more important.

Schools need to re-open because an idle mind is a devil’s workshop.

However, creating safer environments for students should be the priority.







Selmah Mbakureva

Midlands State University

Child labour is prevalent in society, resulting in many lives full of regrets.

Under the belief of training children, parents forcefully send their children to undertake hard work, which is beyond their ages.

Children less than 12 years of age are seen fetching a minimum number of 10 twenty litre buckets of water a day in some communities. These little children also fetch firewood every week.

In some areas, they help their parents in cultivating the fields and most probably they are the ones who are sent to the market place to sell the produce.

These young boys and girls sometimes are seen hustling motorists to buy their products. They are sometimes duped by their customers.

Child labour has resulted in early marriages. This is because these children feel that they are mature enough for marriage and can start and take care of a family.

Commercial sex work continues to grow because the young girls will be associating with elderly people more when selling their goods and sometimes these elders can take advantage of them.

In many cases like these, children hardly go to school because for their parents, going to school is a waste of time. For others, however, to some parents the reason for their children not attending school is lack of money.

Therefore, there is need for people understand or learn how to train their children and not strain them by overworking them and also by not introducing them to work not commensurate with their ages.  Parents should not also forcefully introduce their children to hard work at a tender age, because this leads to a life full of regrets.