12 April 2018
. . . We’d be into drugs, sex work
THE Harare City council is concerned with the proliferation of liquor outlets across the city but many people say they are getting employment out of those liquor hubs.
For one Byron Mutsinze, there is no option but to take up back breaking jobs while the rewards are little.
He said he has been working in a bar for five years now and is able to take care of his three children and two siblings.
While council is concerned with the influx of liquor outlets at places such as Mereki, locals said all those concerned about the liquor outlets should not worry about them and leave them alone because they are okay.
Mereki has created employment for people like Byron.
Byron who has been a tout at Mereki for a while says he is able to fend for his family through that way since there are no jobs.
“Basa rangu ndoita zvekumira pacorner ndichideedzera nekumhanyira vanhu vanenge vachida kugocherwa.
“This the only way I thought I could earn a living since I have failed to get a job.
“Things are hard my sister so tirikungoita yese yese kuti zvinhu zvifambe ende zvirikuto fambawo.
“With every customer I get, I earn a dollar so per day I can take home about $15-20 but there are some days where people don’t come, I take home $10,” he said.
There is direct and indirect employment creation at places like Mereki. For example those who tout, their only job is to find customers and then they take the customers to those who braai and sell salads and sadza.
By doing so they get at least $1.
At these liquor outlets one will find businesses like selling airtime, car washes and an average price for a carwash is $3. Residents living around those areas said the jobs might seem to be small but they are keeping people out of crime and drugs.
If one remains idle, they will be left with no option but to steal or do drugs.
Mai Tadiwanashe also thinks the presence of liquor outlets and braai space at Mereki is creating employment and keeping people from harmful activities like prostitution.
“The jobs we do here have made us realise that we can do anything in life, it has also made us shun things like prostitution just to get money.
“Yes we are exposed to different men with different agendas but we are not cheap nor do we allow them to take advantage of us because we have our own money.
“I have been working here for about two years now and things like prostitution here do exist but we are not prone to it since we are independent,” said Mai Tadiwanashe who earns $15 per week.
Though different drugs might be abused at these junctions, Gogo Edna Masawi says her grandchildren are not affected because they don’t have time to abuse substances such as musombodhiya because when one gets drunk he/she will not be able to work.
So one can’t afford to take such drugs.
In other words, Gogo Masawi is saying these liquor outlets have helped the youths avoid drugs.
Mereki, PaHuku and other liquor-related junctions have now become places of social interaction for people from different places.
“I live in Chisipite, we meet here every Friday with my colleagues from work and other social networks just to socialise and have one or two beers.
“It has now become a norm that we meet here every Friday, zvinotoshura kana ukasatiwana pano. Even our families know that.
“When we are here we will be updating each other on life, we will be also discussing politics, what has been trending on social media and other stuff.
“We also meet here because it is central place for everyone, remember we will be coming from different places. This is just the place to be, everything is available, meat is available even mbanje if you want.
“The other reason is that, there are no inflated prices, the prices of beer are just the same. So that is good for us,” said one merry maker, Blessing Zvikomborero.
These outlets have also brought entertainment to revellers who would want to enjoy themselves and recently we have seen artistes like Bev and Zoey performing there.
Even though council might have raised concern over these liquor outlets, there are still many that think in terms of job creation, social interaction and staying away from drugs among other things, these liquor outlets have benefitted society.