Young activists from Tshwane townships during their walk from Johannesburg to Soshanguve to raise awareness about drug abuse in the townships. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
Young activists from Tshwane townships during their walk from Johannesburg to Soshanguve to raise awareness about drug abuse in the townships. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Young activists undertake gruelling walk to raise drug abuse awareness

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published Dec 6, 2021

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A group of young people who walked from Joburg to Pretoria to raise awareness of drug abuse received a rousing welcome when they arrived in Soshanguve.

The team completed the second leg of the gruelling walk, having braved rain on and relentless heat as they sought to draw attention to the increasing number of young people using crystal meth.

Community members saluted the young men and women as they watched them walk past.

The group only stopped for a few minutes to get some cold water or demonstrate their excitement at intersections.

They were welcomed by police outside the Soshanguve Magistrate’s Court, who escorted them through the busy roads until they reached Mabopane train station.

Activist and Clean-Up Hub founder Khutsi Malala, who led the walk, said after years of fighting nyaope and making great strides to eradicate it from the communities, crystal meth was now emerging as a big problem.

He said the dealers were recruiting young people at schools by giving them the drug for free until they were hooked.

Malala said: “This drug is also easily accessible because the dealers are everywhere. They sell a joint from around R100. It is a very addictive drug that makes the users dependent on it.

“We used to have around 20 parents looking for assistance for their children on a daily basis, but now it has grown to around 80 people needing assistance.”

Malala said the battle against nyaope was actually being won because a lot of addicts were successfully completing rehabilitation programmes without relapsing.

Onlookers Kgaladi and Phillip Shai said it was impressive to see young people stand up and raise their hands to lead such an important initiative in a society that really needed it.

“If you look at our streets, taxi ranks, bus stops, car washes, shopping malls and parking lots all around Mabopane and Soshanguve, you will see that drugs have taken over the lives of young people, more especially young men.

“This is the same problem in other townships like Atteridgeville, Mamelodi and especially Hammanskraal. They do these small jobs to help other people with whatever simple task they have just so that they can quickly make money for their next fix.

“That is why we are so impressed to see young people say enough is enough,” said Shai.

Pretoria News

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