Young people are faced with great social and economic challenges, such as unemployment, school dropouts, teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence.
During the recent launch of the Zula Zombie campaign organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), snap interviews were conducted with learners from different schools to gather their thoughts on a number of issues.
The word ‘Zula’ means to beg, while a a person who acts without thinking is considered a ‘zombie’. The video is about the irresponsible behaviour some teenagers engage themselves in, such as unprotected sex, having multiple partners and sugar-daddies – lately called blessers – hence the title Zula Zombies.
Jamarukua Mbaisa, a Grade 10 learner from Wennie du Plessis High School said: “If you truly value yourself, you will not become a Zula Zombie.”
Some young girls are looking for a blesser, an older man, who will give them a luxury lifestyle – but at what cost?
“Certain behaviour can put you at risk of getting HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, as well as not being responsible for your life,” said Shonatee Goeieman, a learner at Heuva Junior Secondary School.
While the word “blessed” has acquired a new meaning in Namibia, the UNFPA has coined the phrase Zula Zombie to give raise the awareness of young girls and boys and urge them not to fall prey to the so-called “blessers”.
Today being blessed denotes giving thanks to the person behind such gifts, as all-expenses paid holidays, designer handbags, phones, cars and cash. The young women are typically showered with gifts from sugar-daddy types, creating a culture of blessers and blessees – mostly older men providing for younger women in exchange for sex.
“We should not become Zula diseases,” says Nanguei Kakujaha, 15, from Claudius Heuva Junior Secondary School in Otjombinde Constituency of Omaheke Region.
Sixteen-year-old Mayavero Kashe of Epako High School in Gobabis says some girls at school boast of having blessers and it is high time they are advised and challenged with the phrase ‘Zula Zombies’.
“We see them at school daily. They have no control over their lives. It’s high time these Zula Zombies change their behaviour and lifestyle,” she advises.
“Being a Zula Zombie depreciates one’s dignity, causes girls to lose self-respect and the respect of others. It also changes our opinions about the girls whom we study with. In fact, we stop regarding them as sisters,” adds Paulus Nande, 16, from Epako.