Concerned people from the Vhembe district – particularly villagers from areas that fall under the Mutale Municipality – are appealing for a counselling centre or increased social services in the area.

As taverns crop up in their numbers, so the need for facilities to help those with alcoholism and other social problems is also increasing.

Thikhedzo Munyai (43) from Tshandama Village is among those calling for the situation to be remedied.

No counselling centres

“We have more than enough taverns here around our area, but not even a single counselling centre. Yes, they (government and municipal authorities) provide us with social workers at every clinic, but we are in need of proper facilities,” he said.

“Our children drink their lives away. Some do it because of peer pressure. If only there were counselling facilities around the area, we would not be facing this huge alcohol abuse problem with our children,” he added.

We need counselling centers to help us limit the alcohol abuse that is happening all around us.

“Alcohol and drug abuse amongst our children is a serious issue affecting not only the families of those involved, but the community as a whole. We need counselling centers to help us limit the alcohol abuse that is happening all around us,” said Michael Mushiana (40) from Maheni Village.

School dropouts

“We try and advise our children to behave themselves, but sometimes it falls on deaf ears. We need professionals to help us with our problems because we are failing as parents trying to help our children. Some of them are even dropping out of school just to hang around in the streets,” said Edna Magesha from Makwilidza Village.

“Clinics are where we could go to ask for help, but they can’t do anything and refer us to the social workers who don’t help either,” added Mushiana.

Given Nembodi (26) from Thengwe Village, said: “I have been an alcoholic since I was 17 years old. I used to drink almost every day of every week and I also used to bunk school. My parents tried all they could to help me leave drinking but it never happened. When I failed my matric in 2009, I realised I was being pulled back by my alcohol problem,” he said.

Best advice

“It is then that my mother decided to take me to a counselling centre in Thohoyandou. I got the best advice and because I was willing and determined to stop drinking. I did it and now I am no longer an alcoholic. So I see and know the importance of a counselling centre. That is why I support the idea of setting up counselling centres in our areas,” said Nembodi.

District manager at the Department of Health in Vhembe, Robert Sirwali, said: “We have been working on a plan to help all the municipalities provide counselling centres. The process will start in 2017. We have not yet decided which municipality will be helped first, but we are in the process of working out where need is the greatest.”

An edited version of this story appeared on