Mother honours son’s dying wish

2017-04-26 06:00
Moira Beukes with her late son, Leolin Claasen, during his younger ­sister’s wedding in September 2016. Photo: Supplied

Moira Beukes with her late son, Leolin Claasen, during his younger ­sister’s wedding in September 2016. Photo: Supplied

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She carries around a white scarf with an image of the face of her late son, Leolin Claasen, printed on it.

Leolin died in January this year from what the doctors called “a severe lung, throat and mouth infection”.

Continuously and gently folding, unfolding and caressing the scarf, the grieving mother, Moira Beukes, has to gather her strength and courage to describe the ordeal of watching her son die as a result of drug abuse.

She feels obliged to honour her son’s dying wish of empowering young people, especially those from Wrenchville in Kuruman, and protecting them against substance abuse while there is still time.

Even two months after burying her son, the pain is still evident in Beukes’s face when she relives the pain and suffering that her son went through during the last three weeks of his life.

Leolin came clean on his deathbed and told his mother that he had been taking drugs, which he suspected had been laced with some kind of poison.

“If it comes to fighting for a drug-free South Africa, I am all for it,” said the distraught mother, who says she is already mobilising youths in her community who are willing to quit the habit.

“If you are doing it, please refrain from it, and if you are still thinking of doing it, stop right in your tracks,” she warns.

Unfortunately, she does not have the financial resources to assist and send these young people for rehabilitation.

“I still cannot accept the reality that he is no more.

“He was only 30 years old and had such a bright future that was taken away from him.

“He was not even married and did not even have a child, as he believed he wanted to make positive changes in our lives while he was working at the mines,” she added, close to tears.

“He told me that he did not wish the kind of pain that he was experiencing on even his worst enemy, thus he kept on reminding me to intervene, even while he was getting weaker by the day, to fulfil his wish.”

According to Beukes, her son’s life changed after he had issues with his job in the mines, which made him become frustrated, resulting in having too much time on his hands and leading him to mingle with youngsters involved in drugs.

She says that her son knew exactly what it was that landed him on his deathbed and told her the details of the day when he unknowingly took the poison.

“He mentioned that it was a Nigerian, who is well-known by young people in the community, who manufactured the drugs in Kuruman.

“He revealed to me that he and his friends got the drugs from this man and were all smoking it.

“According to him, it dawned on him that his friends were not inhaling the smoke from the drugs and were shocked to see him doing so. A few days later he experienced severe pain in his lungs.

“That was because of the poison that was starting to eat his insides like acid.”

She is urging members of her community, in memory of her late son, to take a stand and protect their children against the evil of drugs and the people that are selling and manufacturing them.

“It is time that we start building a strong and healthy generation.”

She revealed that in almost every second house in the streets of Wrenchville, there is at least one child who uses either drugs or alcohol.

“These things go hand in hand, leading to many other social issues, like HIV and Aids, school drop-outs, and teenage pregnancy.”

She said that during the past two years, the community has lost too many young people who have landed in situations which they find difficult to get out of.

“They sometimes commit suicide, become terminally ill or get involved in accidents.

“Child aggressiveness has also become the norm in our community.”

She added that the police and people from outside her community are trying to shift the blame and label the stand they are taking as xenophobia, which is not the case at all.

“All we want is to fight the scourge of drug abuse in our community.”

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