By Crispen Rateiwa| @ndakangwarisa

It was a long day in class. The lecturer, Mrs Dube, threw jokes here and there to illicit attention from us. I had the shock of my life when she announced her decision to divide the class along gender lines.

“I want to have an exclusive boys’ session. I want a little time with you boys during the break time,” she said.

“What session? What is it that we can trade for our dear break?” murmured all the boys in my class.

“Get a life! What stuff do you have? I’m an adult. I know how to take care of myself. You will learn a lesson today. Kudzidza hakuperi. Talk the obvious and I will walk away,” I said to myself.

“It’s rare to get advice these days, isn’t it? In life don’t make experiments! Don’t be players!” Mrs Dube said.

I thought I was an adult. What advice would she give me about social life? I was wrong. As I realised my boys nodding, taking in her message, I lent her my ears.

Image credits:http://chs.unobi.ac.ke
“Make a statement! Attract the one that you want. Show maturity. You can’t dress like you are in high school, dropping pants.”

“Guys wash your stockings. Shave your armpits. That’s where sweat accumulates and you don’t want to smell bad. Buy roll-on and if you can’t afford go for bicarbonate soda,” she said.

Who could argue with her? Mrs Dube acted like an aunt and looked like a mother. She recommended around ten years difference in love.

When she was growing up, a woman married an older man. Her generation experienced less divorces.

“HIV/AIDS patients are taking pills and you can’t detect. So protect yourself. Get tested early and receive treatment if infected. You can live long. Some go for voluntary male circumcision (VMC). It’s a positive development. Others use the A.B.C model- abstain, be faithful or condomise. Choose what works for you,” Mrs Dube said.

As Mrs Dube continued with her advice session, I began to ponder on some issues affecting my peers.

Cohabitation of male and female students is rampant in tertiary institutions. Some students engage in transactional sex to raise money for rent, food, make up and other necessities. These activities expose students to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.

It is incumbent that the government, charity organisations and the private sector take measures in dealing with such issues. Student loans and support in start-ups are some of the possible solutions required to ease college life hardships.

Organisations that raise awareness on HIV should also come on board and help student with sexual reproductive health information. This would help to prevent decimation of the country’s human capital.

Crispen Rateiwa is a publishing studies student at NUST. He is the chairperson of College Youth Art Club (CYAC) and president of Democratic Alliance for Academics (DAA). The views that he shares here are his own. Contact him on crisrateiwa@gmail.com; Facebook, Crispen Rateiwa; and Twitter @ndakangwarisa. Visite his blog: ayaasite.wordpress.com. 







how some colleges and other national institutions are going about the release of information on HIV related issues is not only misleading but is unnecessarily causing stigma against students 

The Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (ZINASU) has dismissed a report in the Herald of 20 May 2016 under the headline ‘47pc of UZ students HIV+’ as ‘misleading’ and ‘sensational.’
The story, which is mainly based on comments by the UZ Vice-Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura, claims that nearly half of the University of Zimbabwe students who recently underwent voluntary HIV testing were positive, prompting the institution to limit inter-residence visits between male and female students.
According to the report, a recent exercise conducted by the UZ showed that 47 percent of students who underwent testing and counselling tested HIV positive.

Speaking about the way in which the herald broke the story, Zinasu National Spokesperson Zivai Mhetu lamented the lack of adherence to journalism ethics by some papers in the country.
It is a public secret that the HIV prevalence rate is high not only among UZ students but also in the country where recent statistics put it at around 15%. That the HIV pandemic is real and is affecting a lot of young people is indisputable but how some colleges and other national institutions are going about the release of information on HIV related issues is not only misleading but is unnecessarily causing stigma against students from various institutions.

Zinasu national spokesperson Zivai Mhetu lamented the lack of adherence to journalism ethics by news media in the country and poor handling of sensitive information by institutions of higher learning.


Just last year the National Aids Council (NAC) Midlands provincial coordinator, Mr Mambewu Shumba, said HIV prevalence had shot up in his province due to the ‘generous’ sexual behaviour of students at MSU yet he provided absolutely no research to back this sensational claim.

The UZ has fallen victim to the same type of unguarded release of potentially harmful information.
“If we were to depend solely on the headline in the herald, it is not difficult to see how one can be misled to believe that 47pc of all students at the UZ are HIV positive,”Mhetu said. “Never mind that the story goes on to say that only 47% of students who underwent voluntary testing on campus are actually HIV+. A lot of people just read headlines without reading the entire story so journalists should be responsible on how they come up with them.”

The Zinasu Spokesperson added that the herald report is a perfect example of how important journalism ethics such as truthfulness, credibility and accuracy are often disregarded by reporters who choose to sensationalize issues, a process that can best be described as gutter journalism.
Mhetu also took a swipe at the herald for not providing sufficient information on the subject in question in its story.

“That story suffers from what I would like to call information kwashiorkor,” Mhetu said. “It is silent on exactly how many students were tested in the exercise so as to give a clear picture to the public on the degree of importance that should be given to the results of the exercise. What if only very few students who are not representative of the entire student body at the UZ were tested? Would that warrant the publication of this story whose effect has been to cause alarm and despondency within the UZ student community and the nation at large?”
Turning to the move to ban inter-residence visitations, Mhetu said it was ‘ill-advised’ and ‘misguided.’ He said Professor Levi Nyagura cannot ban inter-hostel visitations solely based on the results of the testing exercise because it does not prove that inter-hostel visitations are the cause of infection for those who were found positive after the testing exercise.

“Exactly how does Professor Nyagura come to the conclusion that those who were found HIV+ during the testing exercise were infected on campus thus warranting his move to bar inter-hostel visitations? Do students have no life out of campus? And are all the students who were tested living on campus when the tests were conducted? Furthermore, is it absolutely impossible and unfathomable that some of those who tested positive were born that way or got infected before coming to the UZ?”
Mhetu further went on to say that attempting to curtail sexual activity by implementing the ban on inter-residence visitations was a futile exercise because ‘the UZ is an institution for adults not primary school children.’
“You cannot stop sexually active people from having sex by barring inter-residence visitations. If they want to have sex they will have sex . Barring of inter-residence visitations is not a new idea at UZ. It was implemented before but it did not stop sexual activity. Students started having sex in open spaces, bushy areas and under trees. The ban is akin to forcing students to practice abstinence when it is not their wish to do so. It will not work. If the UZ Admin is really concerned about the health of students it should endeavour to ensure that protection is made widely available to students. It is sad that all this is happening at a time when students have no voice because the Admin banned SRC elections.”
Mhetu said that the story in the herald and other stories on the high prevalence of HIV in certain colleges are going to affect students on the job market as employers will be prejudiced against graduates from instructions that are said to have high HIV prevalence rates. He warned that students are now most likely going to shy away from getting tested as a result of the herald report which will result in lack of treatment and poor health.

Zinasu Information Department – Press Release


                      Chronicle report


ALMOST half of University of Zimbabwe students who recently underwent voluntary HIV testing were positive, a revelation which has forced the institution to limit inter-residence visits between male and female students.
The shocking statistics came out during a recent exercise conducted by the country’s oldest university where 47 percent of students who underwent testing and counseling tested HIV positive.
This follows recent reports that Midlands State University students’ reckless sexual behaviour had been singled out as the major driver of the HIV prevalence rate from 20 percent in 2014 to 23 percent in 2015.
Confirming the results and mitigatory measures being implemented to reduce the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections, UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura said allegations that his management style was heavy-handed and infringed on the individual rights of students would not deter him as he could not be seen to be condoning promiscuity.
“The grim statistics of sexually transmitted diseases at the institution have forced us to have a limit for inter-residence visits between female and male students. We have consulted lots of parents and all of them do not want to promote promiscuity by allowing students to enjoy married life-styles by staying with their girlfriends in the halls of residence,” Prof Nyagura said.
“You may be interested to know that not so long ago, we had a survey here which revealed that 47 percent of students who went for voluntary HIV testing were found to be positive. As a parent, that’s a worrisome stat. At some stage I was surprised that Swinton Hall had almost become like a maternity wing with hordes of students pregnant,” he said.
“While we acknowledge that this is an adult institution, we don’t think it’s good for us to encourage cohabitation of male and female students.”
Jimmy Wilford, the director of Saywhat, an organisation that raises awareness on HIV, said while he was not aware of the UZ survey, it could send a wrong message as some students could have been born with HIV.


NUST at the just ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair. Click here for more:
Lupane State University at ZITF. Click here to see more
Great Zim University at ZITF. See more
Midlands State University exhibiting a selection of innovations from some of the institutions’s faculties such as medicine, social sciences and science and technology. Read more
Bulawayo Polytechnic exhibiting technical innovations at ZITF. Click here to see more.
Steward bank transforms the low-life student ID card into bank account. Have a look.