Locals talk on surviving addiction

2019-05-14 06:00
The team who have told their stories to make the book, Lavender Hill Healing from Addiction, possible.

The team who have told their stories to make the book, Lavender Hill Healing from Addiction, possible.

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The second book detailing the lives of eight Lavender Hill residents who overcame drug and alcohol addiction was recently released, with more than 60 copies sold to date.

Lavender Hill Healing from Addiction is a follow up from the book Women Surviving Lavender Hill.

The book came together over one year, during which Heather Adonis, Mishka Fredericks, Yolanda Matthews, Aldrige Brickles, Veronica Kroukamp, Daneline Henry, Johanna Florida Witbooi and Stacey-Lee Stevens would meet for three hours every Wednesday at New World Foundation to flesh out their stories in a safe, open support group format.

Kimendhri Pillay Constant is the programme manager at the foundation which aims to empower the residents in Vrygrond, Lavender Hill and surrounds. She feels that the stories told by the new group of women and one man in this book are important to make the entire world aware of the challenges faced by these communities and place emphasis on overcoming the socio-economic problems.

“In a community like Lavender Hill the focus is often on the negative, so this book is a way of a community, like Lavender Hill, to write themselves back to the centre of the circle in a positive light instead of remaining on the margins, as marginalised people usually don’t have a choice,” she says.

In addition to creating awareness, the international response to the first book indicated that people want to hear these stories.

“South Africans and other countries that the book reached were so impressed and proud of such a product coming out of one of their own Cape Flats community.”

The importance of telling these stories is that most people in the Flats find themselves in the same or similar situations, and so almost the entire community is represented through this book. She explains: “The second book was a natural progression, as in the first book a number of writers’ stories were linked to addiction. Addiction is such a crucial, overpowering phenomenon on the Cape Flats, it seemed very natural to address and heal from this topic for the writers.”

Witbooi’s story is one like so many others’ in the Flats, which has resulted in the loss of her family to addiction. “Because of our household situation, later in life my siblings started with alcohol and drug abuse and that caused two of my sisters to pass away at a young age,” she says.

Fredericks explains how her faith helped her to overcome an addiction of about nine years. “I’ve been in abusive relationships, I’ve been raped, sold my body for money and drugs,was part of gangsterism, lost two babies, was in and out of prison, but ever since God has saved me, my life was never the same again.”

Adonis says her story is about growing up in a home and community where the use of harmful substances became normal. Her story speaks about being comfortable with dysfunction and how she was affected as a child.

All these stories and those of five more Lavender Hill residents can be found in the book, Lavender Hill Healing from Addiction.

V For more information on the foundation on the book call 021 701 1150.

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