What started as a pastime became an addiction for Mkhululi who ended up moving in with one friend after another.
He first smoked dagga when he was 15 years old, then stole from his brother in order to feed his addiction.
“I even smoked inside the school premises. I constantly fought with my brother over his missing money and other valuable belongings. I later left my brother’s place and lived with friends, moving from one friend’s place to another. I made new friends every day so that I always had a place to sleep. None of my old friends wanted to keep me for a long time, because of my dagga addiction,” he said.
To get more dagga, Mkhululi spent his evenings at taverns where he found most of his victims.
“I would sit quietly and then follow drunk people when they left so I could rob them of their money on their way home. I ended up selling dagga for the man I used to buy from as a form of payment. My addiction turned me into a street fighter and at some point, I was involved in a fight that left me with a broken nose after I was hit with a brick,“ he said.
It was only after he was wrongfully arrested that Mkhululi realised his addiction was going to destroy his life.
“I was arrested for a robbery that took place at a local supermarket. I spent six months behind bars for a crime I did not commit. I was later freed because there was no evidence that linked me to the robbery. I wanted to quit dagga when I was in prison, but I had no strength to do so. I sometimes cried when I was alone because I knew my life was out of control. The thought of how addiction had turned my family away from me and the things I did to get money pained me,” said Mkhululi.
Ater he was released from prison, Mkhululi’s brother invited him to the Universal Church.
“I swallowed my pride and went to church. I sincerely asked God to give me a second chance in life and change my character. It did not take long for me to stop smoking dagga because I was determined to change my life. I also stopped robbing people of their money and stealing from my brother.
My relationship with God became stronger every day. I understood that inviting me to the church was the best gift that my brother could give me, because I found so much peace and fulfillment in the presence of God.
My brother gives me all the support I need in my new journey of salvation. I learnt that God honours the faith of those who believe in Him,” Mkhululi said.
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