…”Like I said before, I have taken all the other popular substances but I do not encourage first timers to smoke Mutoriro“
At a time when unemployment has reached alarming proportions, young people have devised plans to cushion themselves from reality and drug abuse is one of them.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
It’s no longer the usual, youths have ventured into some of the most treacherous ways of living and with the introduction new highly intoxicating drugs on the market, one can conclude that the future of Zimbabwe is certainly not in the hands of the youths.
Substance abuse has surged over the years and unintelligently, some ghetto youths are vulnerable to health disorders like depression, skin damage, reduced libido, forgetfulness, and heart failure to mention but the few.
Forget cocaine, marijuana known as mbanje aka chamba by locals, or mental patients tablets otherwise known as mangemba, cough syrups or bronco, these ghetto youths, are daredevils heading towards their oblivion. To Simba (not real name), all the above mentioned drugs are no strangers to him having used them all for the love for being in a nirvana state. He is a proud drug addict.
“Marijuana, bronco, mangemba, I have been through these all,” he excitedly tells me.
The sun is about to set with the winter chill creeping in. The time reads 5pm as Simba heads to the only place in Zimbabwe where the currently trending substance crystal meth is sold Highfield, 12 KM outside Harare Central Business District.
With one sole monger of this product named KG short for Kudakwashe Gweshe who started selling it, he reportedly bought a brand new Altezza vehicle.
After allegedly hitting a pregnant woman after a high speed chase with Drug section, his sister took over the reins to supply this meth known to locals in Highfield as Dombo or Mutoriro. In South Africa they call it tik.
I was accompanied by Simba to the ‘supply source’ base where he was given the drug at $4 for about 10 crystallized brownish-cream grains of the product by KG’s sister. They look like coarse salt or small hailstones. Taking advantage of the cash crisis bedevelling the country, the stakes are high if one has Ecocash as it is sold $6.
Upon buying this product, we went into a shack, goshto in vernacular where other ghetto youths lounged smoking this substance.
In this shack, these grains had to be removed from a small plastic paper to be rolled into two tissue papers.
One’s lighting source is another’s smoking pipe. What is more interesting about Mutoriro is that one cannot smoke it without the aid of disused ‘energy saver’ bulbs. These bulbs which are usually white have the white powder spotlessly cleaned off to be sold at $1-$2 to those who want to smoke.
The energy savers just like Shisha pipes found at uptown bars, is used for Mutoriro. We drove back to Simba’s base where he showed us how he smokes this substance.
“It takes time to prepare this stuff for smoking. Its about 20 to 30 minutes but for your sake, I will not take much of your time,” Simba says.
Simba finds a cigarette lighter which he points on the curved part of the energy saver turned pipe.
“What Im now doing is de-crystalling or liquifying this mutoriro crystals,” Simba says while carefully moving the lighter on the curved surface.
As the crystal meth turns to liquid, Simba says he has to be careful not to apply too much or too little heat.
“Like I said before, I have taken all the other popular substances but I do not encourage first times to smoke Mutoriro,” he repeatedly gives this advice. He directs the heat onto the pipe until it produces a thick white smoke which he puffs inside his lungs.
“I have to apply this heat for it to turn to gas, ” Simba illustrates the three states of matter just as taught. From solid, then liquid to gas.
Asked why he takes meth, Simba argues it gives him so much energy.
“With this drug , you have hyped energy coupled with enhanced concetration which is why it is not surprising some varsity bookworms could be using it. We see them buying it,” explains Simba.
“Upon continuously smoking this, I can go for two or three days without sleep.”
Most of these ghetto youths do not know the downside of smoking Mutoriro. But Simba does. He doesn’t care as long as it deprives him of the sleep to maintain his car park.
“If you Google about meth, it rapidly ages users. In five years’ time, I will not be looking like this,” the nescient arrogantly says.
Simba’s description of the taste and smell of this drug can easily make one puke as he says it tastes like the sewer.
“It tastes like some detergents, mixed with sewer. Its not for the faint hearted. It takes more than just the oomph to smoke this,” he says.
Further information from the internet shows that this drug has dermatological harm. It eats away the skin.
Scientifically named Methamphetamine, it is not a new drug, although it has become more powerful in recent years as techniques for its manufacture have evolved. Amphetamine was first made in 1887 in Germany and methamphetamine, more potent and easy to make, was developed in Japan in 1919. The crystalline powder was soluble in water, making it a perfect candidate for injection.
Methamphetamine went into wide use during World War II, when both sides used it to keep troops awake. High doses were given to Japanese Kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions. And after the war, methamphetamine abuse by injection rapidly spread when supplies stored for military use became available to the Japanese public.
In the 1950s, methamphetamine was prescribed as a diet aid and to fight depression.
To Simba who blames the current economic woes which forced him to man a car-park, meth helps him fend off sleep and depression.
“As ghetto youths, we are at the receiving end of things. We have no jobs.
This drug especially when taking it with Bronco or Mbanje, it wards off the unemployment stress. Further, this drug alone keeps me awake when I’m guarding the car park,” Simba notes.
Easily available, it was used as a non-medical stimulant by college students, truck drivers and athletes and abuse of the drug spread.
But contrary to Simba’s beliefs, mental health experts maintain most youths suffer from depression due to substance abuse.
“About 60 percent of mental illness cases come from the youth who abuse dangerous harmful substances like Mbanje,” said one expert.
This meth hit the streets about two years ago with KG enjoying the supply chain monopoly.
It’s only a matter of time before it reaches epidemic levels of abuse among youths in Zimbabwe if not nipped in the bud. Fortunately, there are some who remain uninterested in meth for fear of the known and unknown.
Last year, over 100KG of meth were intercepted at OR Tambo Airport in South Africa from a Zimbabwe who allegedly wanted to smuggle it into Zimbabwe from India.