A day before South Africa commemorated Youth Day – police in Elandskraal discovered a stash of crystal methamphetamine drugs at a street corner in the village being plagued by rising drug abuse
The youth of 1976 rose up against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools – but the young people of Elandskraal are fighting a different battle.
Crystal methamphetamine a laboratory-made, white, bitter-tasting powder which is a strong and highly addictive drug that can be smoked, snorted, swallowed or injected with a needle has made its way into the village’s streets.
This drug is made using a combination of over-the-counter ingredients such as pseudoephedrine, which is a common ingredient in cold medicines.
Elandskraal, well-known as Sevenstad is a village near Marble hall in the Ephraim Mogale municipality in Limpopo. It is a place where you will find a young people gathered on the corners of the streets playing dice and cards as a way of making money, mainly to feed their drug addiction.
Gangsterism has also become a major problem among the village’s youth with groups roaming the streets brandishing dangerous weapons such as pangas, axes and knives.
Elandskraal’s youth are battling addiction to nyaope, a highly addictive drug laced with heroin. It also contains other substances including dagga, rat poison and in some instances anti-retroviral drugs.
“The problem of drugs, especially the youths’ indulgence in nyaope is becoming a plague in the province. There is a direct correlation between this problem and the escalation of crime,” says Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo, Limpopo provincial police spokesperson.
Elandskraal police station commander Captain Mabusela says police have acknowledged the new method that the drug dealers are using in selling the drugs.
“The road side checks are pretending to be selling fruit and sweets but behind the table they are putting all those drugs. The community members know what they are doing that but failing to report them,” says Mabusela.
Mojapelo says they have arrested a number of street vendors after they received information that they were selling drugs concealed under fruit and sweet stalls.
Phoebe Mahlokoane ,31, who formed an outreach project called Phoebe Theophilus Ministries in 2021 to help youth addicted to nyaope in Elandskraal to kick the habit is using her own funds to prepare meals to serve the addicted youths.
She sets up a table twice or thrice a month next to the spot where they sell drugs to feed and pray for the addicted youth to stop smoking nyaope.
“When I started the outreach I got a thread massages from the drug lords saying if I want to live I must stop doing what I am doing. But as a fearless woman I did not stop instead I took one step ahead. I stepped forward despite the threats I got from drug lords,” says Mahlokoane.
Kgothatso Tsetsewa ,29, who was hooked on drugs for 10 years and has been clean for a year, says he had prayed to God to help him change so that he can live a normal life like other people.
“When I woke up in the morning I felt as if I was exploding. I would look for phones or USB in the house to sell just to get something. The time I started smoking there was no drugs (nyaope included) in Elandskraal and Marble Hall. It was only in Grobersdal, so I used to travel to Grobersdal to get the drugs,” says Kgothatso
“I used to spend about R800 a day and when I got home my children would ask me to give them R1, and I couldn’t give it to them because I had spent so much money on drugs. I used to smoke all kinds of drugs but I was able to stop smoking,” says Kgothatso
Elandskraal youth commemorated Youth Day by walking through the streets of the village in school uniforms as a way of fighting against drugs abuse. The even was held under the theme “Elandskraal Youths says no to drugs.”
Lindy Wilson’s son Lee ,41, was hooked to methamphetamine and has been clean for two years.
According to Lindy, Lee started drugs at the age of 17. He started with dagga and moved to stronger drugs when the dealers convinced him they had stuff that would make him feel even better. They got him hooked on methamphetamines. Lindy said it is difficult to live with an addict
“Firstly they are constantly looking for the means to keep buying the drugs. They robbed the family constantly. Money, cell phones, jewellery, leather coats and anything of any value they can steal.
“Drugs also make them extremely aggressive, especially to the point when they will revert to physical assault. They become delusional and live in an entirely different and unrealistic world.
“They completely lose pride in themselves and do not bath, brush their teeth or their hair. Most of the time is spent sleeping. It is extremely challenging. They often disappear for long periods of time, particularly when they get to the point where they owe dealers large amounts of money and are threatened with their lives or their families lives. This is when they resort to crime,” she says
“As a mother it is extremely distressing. The hardest part is getting an addict to admit they have a problem. Until such time as they do, and want help, you cannot get them to stop. I once had my son arrested for possession. He was not jailed but referred to a centre for help. That was the start of his healing the 1st time,” Lindy said. – firstname.lastname@example.org