Grannies’ quest to tackle drugs

2016-11-03 06:01
Grace Nkope, Peggy Mpongela, Buntu Mbunjana, Nompumelelo Sijora, Violet Majola and Bulelwa Sigwili, are members of Siyabulela Thixo Project, which aims to fight drugs and crime in Khayelitsha. PHOTO: Mbongiseni mASEKO

Grace Nkope, Peggy Mpongela, Buntu Mbunjana, Nompumelelo Sijora, Violet Majola and Bulelwa Sigwili, are members of Siyabulela Thixo Project, which aims to fight drugs and crime in Khayelitsha. PHOTO: Mbongiseni mASEKO

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A group of grannies who were touched by the high levels of drug use and crime in Khayelitsha have started an organisation that is aimed at taking youth away from such indulgence.

Grace Nkope, 68, and Violet Majola, 63, the founders, are set to launch Siyabulela Thixo Project, a non governmental organisation on November 19 at the OR Tambo Hall.

Nkope said they started sitting down with the youth to want to know the reasons which drove them to take drugs and be involved in crime.

“We were touched to see our children and grandchildren destroying their lives in drugs and some getting arrested for the crimes they commit.

We then started doing research with those who use drugs to get the reasons behind that.

Some told us that there was no food at home, which situation forced them to break into people’s houses and commit robberies.

We were then joined by other women from all over Khayelitsha, who said they also have the same problem with their children who are using drugs,” Nkope said.

Majola said they dig from their own pockets to buy food for poor families.

“We have since approached some companies to come on board so that they can provide the youth with training in various skills.

We also take others for rehabilitation. We want them to acquire skills such as carpentry, plumbing, computer literacy, security services and shoe making skills,” Majola said.

They started the project at H Section and now they have since extended their wings to all corners of the area.

The project was also expanded to areas such as Nyanga, Gugulethu and Mitchells Plain.

Majola said the project is aimed to cover all areas in the province.

She said there are over 3000 youth that have shown interest in all the areas that the project operates in.

Nkope said parents should play a role in guiding their children.

“We are not aiming to get money out of the project, but to change the mindset of the youth.

Parents, more especially mothers, should stop accepting television sets that their unemployed children bring home. They must also stop calling their children ‘skollies or tikkops”.

We must bring back the concept of Ubuntu and know that every child is your child. Let us come together and fight poverty and crime. Let us take the children back to school. There are companies that are willing to give them bursaries,” Nkope said.

Buntu Mbunjana, 25, a former professional soccer player, is one of the youngsters who strayed from a good path because of drugs, but now wants to change his life.

He joined the project two months ago and his aim is to talk sense to other youths about the dangers of drugs.

“It is my dream to tell other youth not to walk in my footsteps...I was a good soccer player, but drugs and alcohol ruined all that. There were ways to avoid all that, but I felt that there was not enough guidance (available)for me,” Mbunjana said.

He said he started smoking dagga at the age of 9, and in 2013 was arrested for drinking in public.

Mbunjwa started his soccer career playing midfield for FC Royals, which played in the Vodacom League, now known as the Motsepe League.

He represented the country in the Storsjöcupen Tournament in Sweden, in 2008.

He then played for Jomo Cosmos FC development team in 2010 and played for the University of Johannesburg Football Club in 2011.

His talent attracted a contract with Chippa United FC where he played the right back and as a defender before the team relocated to Port Elizabeth.

“I did not last with Chippa, because of my behaviour. I was drinking a lot and smoking. I was always not in form to play. Fame and getting popular with the girls got into my head and that destroyed everything I had..”

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