Grandmother tells about the tragedy of drug use for her grandson

Nokubonga Yawa
Children on the street. Photo by Nokubonga Yawa.
Nokubonga Yawa

Bulelwa Mbomela is in her 60s. She is the grandmother of Phumlani Mbomela who is 19 years old. Phumlani dropped out of school when he was in grade seven and he never went back.

Mbomela said Phumlani has become a trouble maker since he left school. “He doesn’t spend time at home. He only comes in once a day to eat and then leaves again. We don’t know what he is doing the whole day. So many times he has received beatings from community members because he breaks into people’s houses and steals.” Mbomela says that the boy does bad things to get money for drugs.

“Phumlani steals money even here at home. He doesn’t just trouble people on the outside. He does the same here at home,” said Mbomela.

Phumlani’s mother works as a domestic worker. “His mother does not get paid that much and with Phumlani stealing from the community, they sometimes come and demand that we pay them back for what he stole,” said Gogo Mbomela.

GroundUp contacted SANCA (South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence), a national drug awareness organisation, and spoke to Vuyokazi Molosi, a social worker at the Khayelitsha SANCA center.

The South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA) is a national drug awareness organisation. Vuyokazi Molosi is a social worker at the Khayelitsha SANCA center. She says drug use is a problem in all communities and that affects both boys and girls. At SANCA they do drug screening, referrals to rehabilitation centres and counselling sessions for children who are drug addicts. She explains that a lot of children who are involved in drugs are mostly involved in crime as well, robbing people and stealing money at home and they mostly drop out of school. She is worried that this is a crisis that nobody seems to be addressing and that parents are not close to their children. Molosi says she attends to at least ten people a day. “We used to have a rehabilitation centre but it doesn’t exist anymore. It is a big problem because there are very few rehabilitation centres in the Western Cape and for most of them you have to pay for their services,” she said.

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