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By Dimakatso Modipa


By Peter Mothiba

It is really painful to see how the highly-addictive drug called nyaope has destroyed the lives of many youths in South Africa in general and in the township of Mamelodi in particular.

A prominent Johannesburg-based newspaper editor once wrote that nyaope is Mamelodi’s most famous export.
Whether the said editor’s observation was based on sarcasm and pure exaggeration is neither here nor there.

The fact of the matter is that nyaope has indeed destroyed the lives and future of juveniles in Mamelodi and in South Africa as a whole.

What makes the issue of nyaope more painful is that both the government and the community don’t seem to have effective strategies to deal with this matter.

Initiatives like drug awareness campaigns are no longer effective.

This as everybody in townships like Mamelodi knows about the scourge of nyaope already, and what is needed now is a plan to eradicate the use of nyaope completely.

In terms of South African law, those found using nyaope may be sentenced to 15 years in prison while those selling it may be sentenced to 25 years in jail.

But this law hasn’t helped at all as nyaope addicts indulge themselves in their habit on a daily basis in full view of the public.

The police seldom arrest these addicts.

And those selling the stuff do so without fear as it is rare for one to hear that so and so has been arrested for selling nyaope.

Drug rehabilitation centres are also not effective because it is ultimately upon the addicts to decide whether they want to quit smoking nyaope or not.

Many of these addicts start using nyaope immediately after returning from these rehabilitation centres.

Nyaope is a concoction of heroin, marijuana, tobacco, anti-retroviral medication ( ARVs), rat poison and household cleaning products coupled with everything and anything that would make the concoction more potent.

Nyaope addicts steal and beg for alms in order to maintain their fatal habit. They steal items like cellphones, lap tops, kettle, irons, pots, wheelbarrows, toys, clothes, cement bags, car parts, books, bibles and even church bells.

While some of them got into this habit a little later in their lives, many of them got hooked on nyaope while they were still in primary school.

Some of these addicts were promising sports stars while others had a bright future academically.

A recent study shows that 80 % of households in Mamelodi have at least one family member who is addicted to nyaope.

And to make matters even worse, nyaope addicts now use needles to inject themselves with blood from a fellow addict who is already intoxicated by nyaope.

This they do when they don’t have money to buy nyaope of their own.

This practice is called “blue blue tooth.”

Now solution? I say take all nyaope addicts to the army for two years where they will be forced to quit the stuff and learn morals, discipline and responsibility.

This is no longer their choice. This is in the interests of the general public.

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