One day they brought me meth, and a lighter. I saw when they smoked meth they got incredible energy, they could see things far away. I thought, let me try. I got high, very high.
The meth felt like it was taking over control. At 5 a.m. in the morning I finally fell asleep and when I woke up I wanted some more. My body was sweating a lot. Then this thing started happening every day. I thought I was sick. They said I was craving the drug.
I asked them, “Why didn’t you tell me this before I started smoking?”
They said, “You chose this. We didn’t force you.”
I fell sick. My body was warm, warm, warm, and I went to the hospital. A grandma said I was a drug addict and needed to go to rehab to stop smoking. She said sometimes using drugs can lead you to death if you can’t stop. She gave me pills for flu and asked me where I was staying, as I looked dirty. I told her I was living on the street.
She asked, “Is there no place to go?”
I said, “No, the shelter is like a prison. The gate is always locked. It’s like a prison.”
I had a friend who used to use wunga. He used needles and looked like he had a disease. He told me one day to try it.
“No, I can’t try something that would damage me like this,” I said.
My friend said I must never smoke wunga but I didn’t listen and once tried smoking it off the foil. I got tired. My body felt weak and I was just sitting there. I couldn’t remember what I had done. Sometimes when I was sitting, the world was moving upside down in my head.
Then we bought buttons; a pill with a line, it looks a little bit creamy. We crushed it, mixed it with dagga and put it in the bottle and puffed it. When I inhaled it I fell back, released the smoke and felt high. I took another puff and fell again. The others warned me that I could get a stroke. I was worried I would get a stroke and told them to never to bring the stuff to me again. I continued smoking glue and one day they brought tik, but I refused.
The other children taught me how to break into cars. One broke the window and told me to take the bag but I refused and ran away. They accused me of being a child. I said I was a child and that I was scared of being arrested.
I told them I was going to stop smoking and asked my friend, “What will happen if we stop smoking?”
He didn’t know.
I said, “You are getting dirty and look sick, like you have HIV.”
I had stopped smoking then and my friend eventually stopped. He is now in Grade 11.
My friend went to the Homestead. He told me they could put me in school too, give me food and shelter. I said I will try it. The day I entered the place I thought I would never step my feet outside again to smoke. I slept a lot, read and would sleep and shower. One day I went to one of the carers and told him I wanted to go to school.
They wanted to put me in a place called Learn to Live but I didn’t want to go because it was not a proper school and I’m wasn’t good with my hands. They said I needed to go to Khayelitsha if I wanted to go to school. I was scared because I had heard bad things about Khayelitsha.
When I arrived in Khayelitsha it was still the old Homestead. I met William and Banele. There was another guy, Stembele, who also came to the shelter. He was also afraid because he’d heard of the bullying and that people died. Some children were naughty and the community didn’t like them. They mixed the good with the bad and I didn’t mind, I just wanted to go to school since a young age.
I had big dreams. I wanted to own a travel agency so I thought it would be better to go to Khayelitsha, so I could get an education and learn about business. I went to a guy called Simphiwe, a social worker, I told him I want to go to school. He said he would do everything in his power to put me in school. Many of the children there didn’t want to go to school. The guy I came with from Cape Town, Stembele, also wanted to go. We went to City Mission in Athlone.
We went to school.
It was good and I was passing but one day the people from Khayelitsha had a strike. They placed rubbish bins and tyres on the road and came to our building and took down the fence to sell it. We called the cops, who chased them away. They kept on coming back.
One day we were sitting playing music, it was Lwandisa and me. I started feeling strange, my body got warm and my heart pumped fast. I had a thought that something was going to happen. It wasn’t good. I thought of a day when they were slaughtering a cow in the Eastern Cape and I could smell the blood. It was a premonition that something bad would happen.
Tell us: What do you think will happen next?