Given Malepe (28), Mike Lebalo (25), Emmanuel Tshalibe (30) and Zinto Khawula (29) – who met when they were patients at SANCA’s (South African National Council on Alcoholism ) rehab centre – all used to participate fully during the clinic outreach programmes at schools, clinics and railway stations.
“The purpose of this was to share and educate young people and adults about our experiences of drug use, and the dangers of illicit drugs. Our drama is centred on the highly addictive nyaope,” said Malepe.
It also helps to shape our mindset not to go back, and to focus on doing positive things while attending life skills training in order to live a healthy lifestyle.
Motlatsi Shange, a nyaope user for eight years, said “We are using this platform in order to reunite with our families and the entire society. It also helps to shape our mindset not to go back, and to focus on doing positive things while attending life skills training in order to live a healthy lifestyle.”
Rabeka Ntsomele, a parent of Emmanuel Tshalibe, said he was surprised by the disclosure that his son had used nyaope for 11 years.
“As a family we need to stand together and support these boys and encourage them to join a support group together to deal with the traumatic experiences they have had. We as parents also need to support them in their artistic career,” he said.
“I am very proud of these boys and never thought they will come this far and beat this habit of nyaope. We as the Arts and Culture Forum in Region 2 will make it a point to give them our support to access opportunities and attend capacity building workshops and drama competitions,” said Athalia Matjene, a secretary for Region 2 Arts and Culture Forum.
An edited version of this story appeared on Health24.