Encounter with a 16-yrl old Drug starter

It was in the evening hours around 8/9 pm yesterday, 8th March 2008 at the time of writing when – let’s call him Tebogo – came rushing into the house, straight to the kitchen and opened the drawer – thinking to myself that he’d just got mugged and wants a knife for revenge – looking for whatever the marijuana he had smoked may have made him look for, but couldn’t find and later came to join us in the dining room.

Ke eng Tebogo?” everyone asked him.

Pyn e le e thomile”, said Tebogo.

Asked Tebogo’s Mom and I: “Pyn e feng?

Before he could respond to the question, her Mom and Grandmother said: “O a bo o simolotse ga pe! (You have started again!)”.

At that time, I had no idea what they referred to when they said “you have started again” until they explained what I never thought the poor boy was capable of.

Both Tebogo’s grandma and his Mom told me that it’s not the first time Tebogo’s coming running home from the street doing – showing effects of smoking Marijuana it seems – what he was doing at that time.

I was shocked.

Because at that time the curiosity got the better of me, I then started asking him some questions in trying to get to the mind of a drug started and what could have lead him to doing what (smoking) what he was doing.

“Ke bo mang ba ba go goisitseng matekoane, Tebogo” I asked him.

Tebogo said: “Ke di chomi tsa ka”.

Because it’s not the first time o etsa so, why otswelela go chomana le bona, o bona gore ba go dirisa dilo tse diseng sharp? I asked him.

Because of peer pressure, I could gather, he could not answer in a satisfactorily manner. In fact, he did not answer me at all which left he speechless.

I said to Tebogo: “It’s time o tlogele di chomi tseo because ga e se dichomi tse right gonne e kare di go pateletsa go dira dilo tse o sa di batleng. Or fa o bona e ka re ba dira dilo tse o sa dirateng, why o sa kgaogane le bona, o battle do chomi tse di dirang dile tse di right and not ba ba tlileng go go pateletsa?

“Ke tla dira jalo, said Tebogo, trying to make me feel much better.

What’s Tebogo Learned?
It cannot be confirmed whether Tebogo has learned to choose between good and bad friends. But as someone who’s lived in a busy and happening City in SA, Johannesburg where there are incidents of drugs happening on a daily basis – I assumed, Tebogo knows the effects and or disadvantages of using any drugs, unless prescribed by a registered and recognised medical practitioner by that sector or industry’s association body.

Given too the advised I provided – which also cannot be confirmed to be or will be used – it can but only be hoped that he has learned a thing or two about drugs and his friends.

And the boy’s Parents?
Tebogo lives with his mother and grandmother. Before moving in with his granny this year, he stayed with his mom in Jo’burg from an early age until late last year when her mother was retrenched and decided to come back home and stay with her mom – who was living alone after staying with her for 3 years while at North West University’s Mafikeng campus between 2005 and 2007.

While talking and advising Tebogo on that day, I too, advised his parents that they may have to be more firm when talking to Tebogo, just so he could receive their message and advice more clearly than before. This involved among other things:

  1. Let him not come home after 9 pm during week days,
  2. Make his uselessness useful by doing home chores, e.g. washing dishes, which I was told he never did and cleaning the house where necessary,
  3. At least, be home before 10 pm on Saturday, and 8/9 pm on Sunday (for him homework purpose)

This, I thought, would give Tebogo more responsibility than having to run around with guys (or friends as he called them) who will either though hardly help one successful, but make his life a living hell.

Tebogo, I advised him, was that getting involved with such guys could land you in jail soon or later. This because, after taking marijuana, you have no idea what is going on around you.

Therefore, his “friends” could easily or are likely to do any crime which they could blame Tebogo for because, the poor boy, will have no idea what happened. That will leave him as the only suspect, because they may have left him at the scene of the incident.

Tebogo’s mom was very concerned that he didn’t know what to do. I then offered a solution to Tebogo:

  1. Get yourself friends who will respect your decision or lack thereof (to them) in whatever you do or may not do,
  2. Stay away from bad guys who seem to easily influence you into doing anything, if not most things, against your will and wish,
  3. Go to school: learn and get learned and further your studies or you may end up having nothing at the end of God knows what, just some of your cousins and relative we have witnessed.

As parent or parents-to-be, we must make it our responsibility: to know who our children hang out with – where, when and why – and at the same time, giving them space to make mistakes from which they can learn and hopefully grow.

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