I was raised by my grandmother in a big township called Umlazi, south of Durban. Growing up and being raised by a pensioner was not easy. However, as a child, one sees no suffering and the person who suffers the most is the one who takes care of you.

As with everyone else I had dreams and my performance was of a high standard during my primary education. I was a good kid if I may say, however things changed in high school. Going to high school changed my mind set in a way that I started looking at myself as being grown up.

I started smoking cigarettes in my grade eight year, and I progressed to dagga (marijuana) in the following year. My academics dropped and I was lazy to do my work, but still managed to progress to the following grade.

In grade ten I was still one of the best performers and I was selected to study Physical Science and Mathematics based on my performance. On the other hand, because of my habit, I had also started stealing small things to buy dagga.

In grade eleven, my marks dropped drastically, but I was able to get through to grade twelve. The reduction in my grades was simultaneous with the increase in my bad habits, as by then I had started smoking low grade heroin (whoonga/nyaope) during the school holidays.

In the middle of my matric year, I was expelled because of coming late regularly, being consecutively absent and no longer doing my work. My class teacher had noted that I was smoking one of the heavier drugs and the principal decided to expel me because there was no way I was going to pass.

That year I started stealing everything that I could sell to feed my habit, because I was no longer schooling. I stole things at home and also from my neighbours. One of my uncles came to my 'rescue', he beat me badly and he then took me to stay at his house.

The following year I was still using drugs, but I made sure that my uncle did not notice it! I went back to school and I passed my matric with a diploma endorsement, but I failed physical science and only got minimal marks in maths. After finishing school I went deep into a lifestyle of drug abuse for the next 5 years. I ended up living on the street, eating out of dust bins and I once went without bathing for about three months.

Only through God’s grace did I realize that I needed help. By then everyone thought that I had become mentally disturbed. I was looking physically unhealthy and one could see the burden I was carrying in my life without even asking.

I came to CYPSA in July 2015. I made my life right with God (James 5:16) and I was set free (1 John 1:9). I was then given the opportunity to help in one of the departments. I earned some income and went back to people at home and in my community, to ask for their forgiveness and to pay them back for the possessions I had stolen from them.

More recently, I have been given an opportunity to study via a programme called F.A.S.T. (Furthering and Advanced Student Training) and I am currently completing my Bachelor’s degree in education.