“Parents are afraid to talk to their children who are abusing drugs,” said Sehata, founder of Lesedi Youth Empowerment (LYE) in Bochum, Eldorado Village in Limpopo.
LYE is a non- profit organisation (NPO) established in 2017 to address socio-economic challenges such as crime alcohol, drugs, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and health issues amongst youth.
“In rural areas, parents are scared of their children who are using drugs and smoking dagga. I think some of these children threaten their parents to such extent that parents are afraid to talk about these issues,” he said.
First-hand experience with drugs
Sehata lost his mother when he was young so he started to abuse dagga and alcohol when he was a teenager.
He said that if parents are not involved in their children’s lives then there aren’t many other people to guide them to a positive and healthy lifestyle away from drugs and alcohol abuse.
“I was 13-years-old when I used to smoke dagga, cigarettes, and drink alcohol. I was under pressure because I was living alone after my mother passed away in 1997,” he said.
“I realised that the life I was living wasn’t good so I started going to church to mend my ways. I didn’t attend rehab or any other organisations such as LYE because there wasn’t anything like it.”
Sehata said that drugs such as nyaope and dagga are commonly used in Eldorado Village and it could be the reason behind ill-disciplined children and killings in schools.
“I have seen young children, as young as 13-years-old smoking nyaope and dagga. Drugs are very dangerous because they cause young ones stab each other or stab teachers. They aren’t taking school seriously. It’s such a challenge, especially in the rural areas.”
Sehata said that through their Drug Free World campaign, they engage with parents and youth to address social ills in communities.
Department of Social Development spokesperson, Kanakana Mantshimuli said that they work hand-in-hand with NPOs to fight substance abuse through various campaigns in the province.
“The department, in partnership with NPOs, has anti-substance abuse campaigns and provide outpatient treatment services. We provide subsidies to NPOs fighting abuse.”
Mantshimuli said the in-patient programme at the Seshego Rehabilitation Centre in Polokwane offers services to the entire province and works on a referral basis.
“The service is free but there is protocol that needs to be followed for a person to be admitted to the centre because detoxification can be life threatening. The services are available to all who need it but walk-ins are not allowed,” he said.