Older readers will recall Stella Awinja. Partly because her demise was such a big deal. A student dying in campus them was no small matter 35 years ago. That name rings a bell, despite the death having taken place decades ago.
And no, she wasn’t intentionally killed like many of the cases we hear about today. Stella died when a rock fell on her while walking on the sidewalk during the construction of Lilian Towers.
Her death was mourned by almost the entire country. A hostel was even named after her at the University of Nairobi. That was then.
Nowadays tragic death at university rarely makes it to the front page of our newspapers. Nasty stuff happens in campuses like girls getting raped and murdered, but it remains almost a nonissue.
What most parents seem not to know is that universities have increasingly become some of the most dangerous places you can send a young person.
Deaths, which have become commonplace, are the extreme cases. A lot of other nasty stuff goes on there, which if known would make some parents faint with shock.
“Unlike in the days of Stella Awinja, nowadays campuses are way too many. So a death here or there is seen as a small matter. But that is mere tip of the iceberg. Life in campus is one huge scandal that would shock most parents,” says Kennedy, a third year student at a local university. Kennedy says if only parents knew what some of their ‘innocent’ kids do; from girls moonlighting as prostitutes, to boys engaging in armed robberies and donating sperm for an extra coin!
“University is a place where hormones are on the rampage, alcohol, especially among boys, is the order of the day. Needless to mention, money is in perpetual short supply, hence the strange side hustles some of the students engage in,” he adds.
There is often that bit about burning the midnight oil, but on a long list of priorities mostly centred slightly below and above the belt, books often come a distant and boring third, the young man confesses.
“However, one of the biggest scandal is alcohol and weed (bhang). Like jets fly on jet fuel, many university students cannot function unless they are high on one beverage or other,” confesses Michira, yet another comrade.
“Binge drinking plays a central role in campus deaths, physical injuries, sexual assaults, destruction of property, poor academic performance, unintended pregnancies, STDs, depression and other mental-health problems,” says Michira, adding that administrations won’t reveal that because it would be an indictment of their failed leadership and mentorship.
At this point, as a parent reading this, you must be scratching your head, praying and hoping your son or daughter is not involved in any of these crazy things. Of course, at home, they pose as innocent angels but on campus, some turn into crooks or beasts of sorts.
“It is hardly reported but it’s at campus that most young people get infected with HIV. Cases of STI are rampant but you won’t get to know about it, unless you have a quiet word with some comrades,” reveals Alice, a fourth year student at a city university.
NGOs that visit to test for prevalence of the virus end up keeping the results in their servers not unless they announce a crisis that can bring learning at a standstill in entire campus communities.
She says alcohol accounts for a good number of the so called ‘mysterious deaths’, with many either falling to their death or getting knocked by speeding cars at night after binge drinking.
“Many comrades get injured in fights or accidents after drinking. Many people will tell you they have either been insulted or assaulted by drunk students,” she says. She adds that she knows some of her colleagues who moonlight as prostitutes or date lecturers for better grades.
Cases of unprotected sex as a result of intoxication are rampant, with many girls in most cases being too drunk to give consent for sex.
“If you only bothered to do a research on number of girls who get pregnant while on campus, you would be shocked. The figures for those who get infected with HIV or other STIs or carry out regular abortions are shocking. A good number of campus girls nowadays smoke bhang too,” says Alice.
For you parent the fact that your daughter brought you a child born in campus is not the worst case scenario. She could have attempted abortion and brought more problems, even death. Kennedy says materialism has taken over and a visit at female hostels would shock the average parent. Some of the girls are picked and dropped by some of the richest and respectable people — most old enough to be their fathers, every evening.
“These hostels are Sodom and Gomorrah of sorts. The girls will date anybody who offers big money, age notwithstanding. Some moonlight as prostitutes at night. Others are strippers at strip joints,” he says, adding that levels of desperation for money are alarming and comrades will do anything to get it.
If you are a parent and our daughter looks too flashy for a student, yet you don’t fund her lifestyle, you have every reason to worry. Some date their father’s or grandfather’s age mates, all for money.
Some get into habits like gayism and lesbianism while in campus. “These things are there and it is disheartening to see a boy leave beautiful girls to go for a man or a girl leaving us for a fellow girl,” says Alex Kiplagat.
It would shock some parents that for the period their daughters or sons are in campus, they cohabit with girlfriends or boyfriends as husband and wives. “Some of the drugs sold on campus are distributed by comrades themselves. Peddlers always have their point men as students on campus. Terrorists now get brides in campuses as was seen the other day,” says Michira.
“People only associate online cons with prisoners, but what they don’t know is that a good number of them are campus students. Some sell fake sports bets, dupe mobile phone users into con games and all manner of scams,” he adds.
He says parents should know that some of their sons are supported financially by sugar mommies.