Boarding schools in Zimbabwe are banning cereals after it was discovered students used the food stuff to make potent alcohol. Alcoholism in Zimbabwe is growing with more youth being reported to be struggling to kick the dangerous habit. Through banning cereals, the country’s educationalists seek to contain exposure of the youth to the harmful drug.
Three schools in Zimbabwe warned parents against providing their students with cereal. The schools, predominantly in the south of the African state, told parents that any oats or sorghum meals would be confiscated when their new terms began after it was discovered students used the meals to make alcohol.
The warning paper to parents read, “Pupils reportedly mix the cereals with brown sugar and yeast and leave the mixture to ferment in the sun, creating a potent alcoholic mixture which the pupils drink right under the noses of school authorities.”
Tennyson Hlabangana High School in Zimbabwe’s Bulawayo town, sent a message to parents instructing them specifically against bringing Morvite powdered cereal or oatmeal porridge to school.
One of the parents reported receiving a text message specifically warning her against buying Morvite when purchasing groceries for her children. She said the ban was enacted “after conducting our investigations we established that the cereal was being fermented into alcohol.”
Local chemist Michael Dube said the manufactured oatmeal alcohol was dangerous as it had unsafe levels of alcohol that exposed the underage drinkers to excessive toxins. Dube said, “The danger of doing this is that there is no method to control the alcohol content. Their beer might have high alcohol levels, which may be a threat to their health.”
Underage drinking in Zimbabwe has risen to become a national crisis. Just recently, youths in Bulawayo, some as young as 13, were arrested after being found drinking alcohol at a local “vuzu” party in the outskirts of the city.
Underage drinking is destroying the futures of many young people in Africa and across the world. In some cases, where the drinking is coupled with harmful substance abuse such as smoking marijuana or inhaling cocaine, more severe consequences in the form of health complications emerge.