SABC journalist, Obuseng Maluti interviewed student from Lehlabile secondary school about the Tjo!StoryFest program that took place at University of Pretoria, Mamelodi Campus on Saturday. Students showed more interest in the program and took part in community talks especially with SA Depression & Anxiety Group. The group brought one of their “service users” to share his story with the audience. The group discussed with the audience about drug abuse. The ex-drug user, 29 with a diploma had been using drugs for more than 10 years and he said that he want to change his life and start focusing on the future, making the right choices and doing good to the community. He added that students have to go to school with a purpose, knowing what they want to do with their lives and not just to attend school. “I’ve learned a lot from the program, it helped me to grow. I didn’t know what we young people are going through in the community. I’m encouraged about what he’s doing, it is a good thing and he has to improve. For the fact that he has a diploma he should focus on the future”, said Katlego Boikanyo, a grade 11 student. Students were also able to share their thoughts about the topics that came up during the program. The topics were mostly about personal stories that are happening in the community. “Substance abuse is a hard thing to quit, but at the end of the day is the decision that we make, we just have to stay positive and not let peer pressure to take over us because it destroys us”, said the student, Koketso Moerane. He added that he’s going to take the message back to the community and make sure others does’t go through the same issue. He believes that the program helps them to help others. Most of the audiences believe that people who uses drugs started at an early age where they didn’t have enough education and guidance. It is believed that if children get education about drugs and get reasons why it’s not the right choice to use drugs it will help the issue to stop in future rather than to preach “SAY NO TO DRUGS” to children without explaining to them why.
By: Fortunate Machaba