Johannesburg - Eldorado Park mother Dereleen James wrote a letter on March 18 to her friends, documenting her struggle with trying to get her 17-year-old son off tik.
The letter went viral and spread. Others added their stories to the letter, and more people read it.
Here is the letter they eventually sent to “Dad - President Jacob Zuma”:
Dear Dad/Mr President.
I am addressing you in this manner because I need you to hear our cry as a dad and not as our President. You seem to have missed our first plea that was published in the Sowetan on 08th April, the Citizen 8th April, The Sowetan 9th April, the Eldorado Urban on the 10th April 2013, Kwela Xpess 19 April and The Times 24 April.. But that's ok, I will press on until u read about us, The Forgotten Community of Eldorado Park and Kliptown.
The purpose of this letter is to inform you of the critical and dying state our children are in. Dad, we need you to help us mothers save our children. A wave of drugs has swept over our community and has taken over our lives. Killing our children by the day. Children as young as 8 are drug addicts.. boys and girls.
We no longer get together to boast about the achievements of our children but rather to share our lives of living hell and despair. Two weeks ago my son turned 17, he has been using for almost 3 years now, he weighs 37kg and according to doctors,his life is in danger. I see him every day but I dearly miss the child I gave birth to.. *tears* Allow me to share with u.. The Life of an Eldorado Park/ Kliptown mom or family who lives with an addict.
Mom age 67: I have withdrawn myself from society, I can no longer cope, I've live like a prisoner. My son climbs through the trap door to break into his own home. I'm forced to give him all my money, just so that I can have peace. I can't buy groceries, he steals the meat and sells it to buy drugs. I keep my purse in my panty and I lock my room door just in case he becomes violent. Just last night, he stole his sisters plasma tv and bedding. As u can see, my lounge cabinet is empty, he stole everything. I wish he can die or I had the courage to end my life. I wonder if God will forgive me if I pray before I do it???. There's just no end to this. No one cares. There's no hope. She sobs bitterly....Do you think there's hope Dee? She asks.
Mom from ext 6, daughter is 17: I hate this child, she climbed through the window this morning to steal from me. I don't want her close to me, I can't anymore. She is better off dead. (Daughter shows me her wound, her mom stabbed her). She complains about a sore in her nose caused by the sniffing and asks me to help her. ( I spoke in faith and told her help is coming)
Mom: my son is 19, he now has epilepsy because of the drugs. I have to pay R1000 per month for his meds, I'm a single mom with 3 kids.
Sister of an addict: I had to phone my dad to open my room door this morning and walk me to my car. Last night my 18 year old brother fought with me, I refused to give him a R2. He then locked me in my room with a wired hanger. He steals from us daily to support his habit.
Dad, the term “future generation” is non existent , meaningless to us. Sending our children to school is like sending them to the Lions den. Drugs peddlers parade and sell daily to our kids.. Our children in turn sell for them to get a free “gage” or two. Our community is flooded with “Lolli lounges”. The merchants lure our young girls to these houses and pays them R100 to keep the men entertained. They soon introduce them to drugs, the men then sleep with them and pay them. They make up to R4000 per week. Eventually, they get their drugs free as they keep the clients “happy”. I was shocked to hear the response of a 16 year old HIV positive girl when she was asked “my baby, why do you sleep around knowing you HIV positive? Her response “its payback time aunty!!!” Our children feel trapped and once they spiral downward in a whirlwind of addiction, they eventually commit suicide, so sad. Just this week my friends went looking for a 13 year old girl who is caught up in addiction, she now sleeps at the dump site in extension 2 and is pregnant. Dad,what you've read about is only the tip of an ice berg. We need to bring back the old value system, my child is your child. You now know why I am addressing u as DAD! Our dearest father of the Nation, Mr Mandela has a heart for the youth of South Africa.. I wish he was well, I know he would have helped us.
Mr President, you need to get your hands dirty and actively assist, we will do this together! Thank you to NAFCOC Gauteng who is also trying to help us. We don't trust anyone anymore. Everyone is corrupt. Help us lock up these murderers, drug dealers for good. Set up a special court for all drug related crime. Close down all the Lolli Lounges. Dismiss all corrupt cops that's on a payroll. Call in the K9 unit. We need a rehab centre that will assist with detoxing our kids and give them a second chance at life. We need recreation centre's to keep our kids busy, fix our parks and pools. Give us more staff at our police station, No no,let the entire staff compliment leave Eldo's and give us new cops that no1 knows. Let us have compulsory drug testing at our schools. All the top parts of the taps and copper window handles at the schools have been stolen to exchange for money for drugs (CAT, TIK, DAGGA). The drain and meter lids are stolen. The street lights, the car lights are being smashed, they use the small bulb to make lolli pipes and sell for R50. Everything is in a mess!!! HELP US DAD.. HELP US MR PRESIDENT.. 80000 people turning to you for HELP!!
Last night 23/04/2013 A boy from ext 1 burnt to death at the Eldorado Park power station trying to steal a cable. More than 80 000 residents were in darkness.
Mr President!!! This letter was written from my heart, so excuse the spelling and grammar errors,I'm not a writer, I'm a mom representing thousands of other moms, who will soon be camping at your office door. So many “important” people has called us and offered assistance... Just empty promises and empathy.
Desperate moms and sisters
Fiona Van wyk