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Soshanguve entrepreneur reaches out to nyaope addicts

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Written by Tshilidzi Tuwani

When litter in his neighbourhood reached ridiculous proportions, Abraham Maboya decided to start a recycling project – and employ people that most community members had all but written off.

Two third of former addicts will relapse, according to government statistics

While the nyaope users Maboya works with are hopeful they will kick their habits, they say they wish that they had never started using: “None of us likes nyaope and if we knew its impact, we would have not started.”

In 2007, the sight of cans, bottles, scrap metal and cardboard boxes littering his neighbourhood in Soshanguve’s Block M led Maboya to begin picking up trash on the weekend. What began as a public service has turned into a small-scale recycling service called “Maboya Estate.”

He also employs local nyaope users in a bid to keep them off drugs and away from crime.

“I think the project keeps these addicts busy so that they don’t think of using drugs and steal from people,” he said.

Local residents have welcomed the project.

“I am happy with the work of the project in keeping the environment clean as well as keeping these nyaope addicts busy most of the time,” said local community leader Poppy Maseko. “It reduces their need to use the substance as well as stealing from communities.”

“People like myself are happy because our house appliances are now safer as a result of that project,” said a resident who wished to be identified only as Nancy. “These addicts use to steal anything from our houses to sell for a fix.”

Users still hopeful they will kick the habit

[quote float=”right”]“We have got to work hard in order to free ourselves from our addictions.”

Tsietsi Mathebula is one of the nyaope users working on the project. He said he is still hopeful that one day he will leave his addiction behind. Fellow employee Kagiso Satekge shares Mathebula’s hope and says if any of them had known what using nyaope would lead to, they never would have started.

“None of us likes nyaope and if we knew its impact, we would have not started,” Satekge told OurHealth. “We have got to work hard in order to free ourselves from our addictions.”

Although Maboya does not earn a great deal of money from the project, he says it makes him happy.

He added that the project often targets local parks where litter is a problem and local young people often gather.

“These boys use parks for recreation and again they start drinking and smoking there,” he said. “Having the project here shall probably teach wannabe smokers about effects of nyaope because we are open about it.”

About the author

Tshilidzi Tuwani

Tshilidzi Tuwani is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Gauteng's Tshwane Health District.

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