Thumbs up to ‘Obama’, but…

One joy of my stay in Lilongwe City’s Kawale Township shall always remain the open ticket to experience life in its raw, unembellished state.

You have it all to experience in the high density Kawale!

Just like any other settlement of Kawale’s breadth and pace, the township revolves around a steady axis of activity, throwing at you the occurrences which dwellers of uptown residences wrap under sprawling well-combed lawns and tall fences.

Ghetto youths are unchained to explore life’s limits, and what that means is as good as you may want to guess.

In my first month in Kawale, I saw a blessing in having the Kamuzu Institute for Youth (KIY) within the township’s custody.

My dreams wandered freely to conceptualise the facility as a haven of youth centred approaches and activities aimed at checking youths against social rot.

But my being privileged to live a few hundred metres from the KIY, for over a year or so, has taught me that its state and operations are a distant cry from what must have been.

Just like other youth centres elsewhere in the country, KIY has become a haven of the very things such facilities should have discouraged.

It is not uncommon to see youths lazily spread on terraces and lawns, taking sundowners around the facility, gulping high voltage liquor or puffing high-powered cigarettes.

Some even take the facility for a rendez-vous to perfect their kissing skills and anything that can best be had away from their parents’ watch.

Now, when the Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, Honourable Grace ‘Obama’ Chiumia announced a week ago that Government is taking special interest in the way youth centres are being run, I received the news with a thumbs up.

Of particular mention was her realisation that despite the facilities making money as they are hired out to churches or wedding ceremonies, they still seem to be less cared for.

But we have heard so much talk from Ministers of Youth Sports and Culture. Now we just need action.

Actually, some youth centres have spoiled so many youths they now need to do some corporate social responsibility and offer free counselling and rehabilitative services!

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