Andre’s* Story (Western Cape Branch)

I woke up one morning in a dog’s kennel, my feet had been hanging out all night in the cold and the dog was lying on top of me. This helped me to realize that I had really hit rock bottom.

I was at the end of my life. DEAD! I was freezing cold and I couldn’t even stand on my feet that morning as they had been exposed all night and I needed the sun to heat my feet a bit before I could move. What made it worse was that my uncle and mother had watched me through the window and had laughed. This was the fruit of all of my bad choices.

Two days after this experience I arrived in the foyer of the Concerned Community in Malmesbury at round about 4:30 in the morning.

I was born in St Monica’s hospital in Cape Town on the 28th of March 1976. As a baby I had been kept in hospital for a long time because of complications with my heart. Growing up in the Cape Flats, I lived in a home where it seemed that all was well as we had everything we could dream of materially. But I lacked something – love. By that time I had developed a bitterness towards my father and I hated him as he would often come home late in the morning after having been out the whole night and would start a fight with my mother and would beat her.

I would lie in bed helpless and crying, wishing I could kill him. Once I attempted this by mixing pills with his coffee. I was unloved, rejected, unwanted and then was sent to go and stay with my granny. In my grandmother’s house I was molested by a nephew who I don’t know. With no one to speak to about what was happening to me it made me as hard as a rock inside!

At the age of 17 I had my first girlfriend and she soon fell pregnant. In that same year I murdered someone and went to prison. I was not sentenced because my grandmother took me to a sangoma (witchdoctor). During my time in prison I became a member of the 26 gang. I went on to steal cars and was arrested for illegal firearms. Once I stole a policeman’s firearm. On one occasion I stole my employer’s brand new bakkie worth R130 000!

I married and settled down, but that could not fill the emptiness I felt inside. I used drugs and alcohol for 19 years before I realized I was destroying myself and I ended up on the streets for almost two years sleeping on stoeps (steps) and eating out of dustbins. While I was sleeping outside in the rain one evening I began to pray. That’s same night I ended up in my mother’s yard sleeping in the dog’s kennel.

I could not enter the house as my wife and I were separated. It was then that I asked God to rescue me and help me. The next thing I know I was at CYPSA. How I got there I really don’t know but I know it was the Lord. I have now been with CYPSA for almost 3 years and I’ve been confessing my wrongs ever since, and I have been back to the people I have hurt to make right.

The police had been looking for me for 7 years regarding the theft of my employer’s bakkie and found me at the CYPSA premises. The case was withdrawn! I have really received grace to make my relationship right with God. It’s not an easy walk, but I am a lot happier and filled with joy. Thanks be to God. Amen. The Word that saved me was 2 Chronicles 7:14. I have found love and life! I have come out of the darkness and into the light! My mind is made up and I won’t go back! I pray to meet my God someday.

* Places, names and identifying details of individuals have been changed to protect their privacy.

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