I am simbongile nduduzo Collin mdletshe. I’m from the loxtion umlazi, well actually I was born in kzn at ispingo hospital. I don’t stay at umlazi anymore, I’m now staying at yellowwood park.
Today I will be looking back on how I got into drugs and how I was helped to get out. I will be doing an oral history and auto-ethnography. I will also be doing an interview.
(I then go to a famous loxtion of whoonga/wunga addicts, Lamontville and Chatsworth . All the guys I meet I introduce myself as a smoking drug addict they are willing and happy to give me they stories )
Drugs are nice to do but I don’t want you to do them. If you want to hear or see people make intelligent talk or debate at work while using drugs that control them, I can look around to mix ideas and knowledge and news to this one big story. I love to learn. I love to learn
I need support in my life I can be cured, I can be clean . It’s really because I can control it and I can leave it when I am sending signals and signs to my real belief, which I am trying to explain .
I am the type of person that exist in this world of using. When you call me an addict you strip me of all that is good, for being a drug activist, so long as I use and I don’t kill, I don’t steal, I don’t break my trust with the support system.
Let me explore my stuff. when I am busy I can play an intimidating role . I know where I stand and with out the back up system I would have not made it this far. I am looking at my story. Every side of it has bad or sad news. This is playing too much of a role in my self –esteem. The truth opens eyes and ears and makes me look like an absolute” ass hole”. I’m not violent , but as I was saying, using cultures me. Values last longer. What I believe is not the same as many people. I was taught at home, school , Drop in center ,Durban University of Technology and Urban Future Centre. The car, when I was using at the park at school in the toilets, at home in my room . When I’m using at all the different places my character changes as well. I want to stop using. I have more than enough experience, You as a support system can take me anywhere to use, you will have good remarks about me. Like I said, when I am using I can play any character. I call myself a fraud or an actor.
I stopped using for ten months and my skills have been multiplied.
I am now afraid to use because I don’t know who I am doing it for. Then again, I realized I was doing it for people. So if I was doing good, good news came. If I was doing bad, bad news came
I am very ashamed at the other out look at progress. Being an addict isn’t the best thing in the world And once you get out of it you need to leave a reluctant meaning that you have to be stable, have an income and work or something to focus on even a business or teaching people stuff.
People that are same color skin as me especially woman say I’m going to kangezza, that means to reach your arms out and ask.
I know God is one. I was born a Roman Catholic I can become a Christian, because at school bible study was Christian.. I then became Islamic. I have been Islamic for four years and I was influenced by the religion. Looking at South Africa and surrounding areas, I am now looking at trying another religion but it isn’t what I want, it just came about.
I recited the Arabic alphabets and the transliterature of the Quran. I can say prayers in Islamic. Like I say when I use, I play a character. I play a role, so when I learnt the transliterature. I didn’t learn the English meaning, I learnt the Arabic so when I pray I don’t know what I’m saying in English, better yet even in isiZulu
But some of the English I learnt was some prayers about forgiveness. As a user I need all that forgiveness because I’m always in character, ready to play roles in people’s lives for money. If I carried on being muslim I would be rich now.
I’m sorry to say this but I am better off with my family, and without any friends .
If I want a friend I will get a dog, mans best friend. I have a girlfriend and I love her truly. Now I am excited. Many ideas are coming to mind from early childhood and primary school. I am an addict of whoonga/wunga and I am in recovery with a lot of help from the DUT, UFC, OST Step Up project (opiod substitution therapy project) My life is healed from this disease of addiction. I’m not completely better yet, but soon I will be .
IN 1996. my family moved out of Umlazi to stay in Yellow Wood Park. The first day we had to move in there, my father did not pick me up from school. This was some sort of sign that was showing me, but everything that year goes good, just like every other family.
In 1997 the bread winner of our home, my dad, then lost his job. The world just goes upside down. I start not ,understanding why my father is always angry.
In 1998. the biggest tragedy happens to us at our home in Yellow Wood Park. My older brother was in grade eleven at that time, writing his final exam that day. The most unbelievable thing happen. He murders two men with my father’s gun.
Ever since we move out of Umlazi I constantly see my brother and my two older cousins doing drugs everyday. What type of drug they were using, I do not know but they were using drugs. So I say today they played a big role in my life of me smoking drugs. I might have not been smoking with them, but it was a huge impact .one of my mistakes of smoking heroin was in my school years were it was not the best for
me I forgot all the life skills that as a human adult will have to go through.I was still in primary school in those years.
In 2001.my older brother is sentenced to prison for twenty years for murder. He was released out on parole. When he was away from use I would always use drugs to fill up a gape in my life.
In 2003.my older cousin died from hiv/aids but we were not told at the same time how he passed.
In 2004.my father passed away .
My life with drugs had already started. My father would continuously tell my mother how high I was on drugs. This is that thing that kept me doing drugs, everyday my father reprimanding me: “look at you. You so high on drugs. Get out of my house . How will you find a job? How will you finish school? You will end up to nothing the way you are carrying on.”
What he used to say stuck in my head even until today, because I look at myself. I got my matric late. If I need my own money I have to phanta there are no togos (employment service) or jobs in KZN.
As I write my auto-ethnography I go to my notes because I started with myself.
In 2006.this is when I started going to jail and prison. My life turned upside-down , in and out. I started staying in Point rd on the street. I’ve stayed in the streets for many years. Point rd, Clairwood, Chatsworth Montclair, Seaveiw. All these places I’ve been staying in the road, phantaring (hustling). I’ts not what I want, but my fathers words always come back
As long as I was in the street, I felt strong and able to do everything for myself. My life style in the street started of as a clean person but day by day I ended up dirty. I could never bath or wash up my body in the street. I had family that was not mine. What I had learnt at home, I could not apply to the streets. It was completely something else. I had to learn how to survive on the streets.
The guys I use to stay in the streets with gave me names that went along with what I did, or what money I carried , or what I had stolen, even what I was smoking. But when I was in jail I was told never to smoke drugs. I was told to smoke cigarettes and marijuana, but everytime I went out of prison or jail I went back to smoking whoonga.
I had no work experience, only stealing, smoking. My life didn’t have any value that I had learnt at home only what I knew in the street. It was not how I wanted to live.
I went to rehab centre for my whoonga addiction. I was not really ready to stop smoking. When I was not smoking I tried getting normal jobs like everyone else but they were not what I wanted so I would end up stopping.
Ost opiod substitute therapy
I feel that being here at the DIC opened doors and portal windows. I am now here at UFC. When I was in the life of whoonga I did not think I would be here looking into my life story of being an addict. I think I am blessed. No other blessing can beat this .I have participated in groups. I have addressed some of the
important issues in my life but people don’t see the same , its either they want you out or they want it for themselves. The progress is good if you use the harm reduction approach.
I am now at the train station, writing my life story as I wait for the train. I am shivering because I have no fares for this transport. A lot of people don’t have fares but this is not right. I feel my habits of addiction still follows me today. I’m still doing criminal offences, because I am not paying. While I am clean its all about being proud. Too proud, over being proud. My family has no fees for me. This is embarrassing for me but at the same time it is life for me, so I go to phanta so I can fulfill my duties and needs.
I am now in recovery. As I write my story, I’m trying to get into it, it seems like its not right as a recovery. As Simbongile. I do not want to phanta like my old ways. I hate it because it is insane things. I want to further my education.I have learnt that I am a kind person with a warm loving heart.I have learned to do good and right things with my income, salary or wages.I will use this money the way I want and not via or with drugs
I have seen people with good harts they love people and always want what’s good for them. A lot of people Have inspired me and selfish is not something they are good at.
Work is important especially if it is a day to day living, going into office space, sitting in front of a computer. Doing things you would never do if you were phantaring . Yet again language and slang adapt with everyone, one could say im going to work while he or she is phantaring. One could say, im going to work were it is truly work, indeed office space or field work
In recovery I’ve got it clear that I’m an addict and my family knows too. They pray everyday that I come off addiction. I will win.
I don’t want a friend to even try doing heroin. I have lost everything that is of value of friendship because of things happening in my life. When I am asked if I still use, I say yes because I’m still on the methadone project. Once my medication term is over, I will then start believing that I am off drugs completely
I feel that being here at the DIC has opened the future of work for me. I am now interested in writing , I’m not saying I’m the best, but I love telling stories. Now, im trying to write my own stories. I want to write poems, stories with messages . Right now I’m experiencing the world of history as I’m now in tune and in gear of writing and doing research. Once you know about a story or if you go out and look for stories, you will find excellent work. People know a lot. Telling stories and knowing stories helps. As I tell a story it helps me release that black cloud that makes everyone down and dull. I will never do such a thing again. It makes me lose all my keenness of being a person. When I have enough money to buy as many suga ,mzigo whoonga,/wunga blocks I will never. Its so real to me now. Professional guys coming to the center telling us about the drug. Its heart breaking. Myself as well, sugas, mzigo ,whoonga/wunga, with that vinegar smell will make you an addict and sick. In this struggle of addiction and sickness I can make a difference with abstaining and going out to visit people schools, clinics and parks were there are addicts tell them about awareness, abstaining and harm reduction.
Harm reduction comes and goes along way. It is the solution for recovery addict. In july 2017 I was then introduced to this case study in my mind. I’m pretty sure that were I come from people that use drugs there do not know about harm reduction and how it works or how its done. Im never knew this practice and I had never heard of it ,that’s why I say were I’m from we don’t know this and I never knew it . Some of the strong details about harm reduction is abstaining leads to being clean. Once you are on medication cut down immediately from smoking. Have someone professional to speak with you always. Have time to do group check in’s with similar person like you. Talking about your sickness and about your addiction problem.I have gone to the computer and found out about substance abuse and opioids mostly harm reduction, relapse, triggers, prisons, heroine dissoders, awernes and deseaseis. That is how I have coped with challenges in my life, going to group check in’s at the drop in center.