Drugs are not cool

NARRAVILLE

23 February 2018 | People

“I earned between N$30 000 and N$50 000 per weekend as a drug dealer and on a quiet day, I made between N$5 000 to N$7 000.

“While in prison, I realised that I was actually destroying people,” says Jason Nani (25), a convicted and rehabilitated drug offender.

Jason says he did not operate and sell from home to avoid drawing the attention of the authorities.

“People called me and I delivered the drugs at random places. I sold a gramme of cocaine powder for N$500, a rock (crack cocaine) for N$100 and a bankie (plastic bank bag) of marijuana for N$50. I was at a club when someone called and ordered 2 grammes of cocaine. After the first delivery he called again and requested another 4 grammes.”

He was caught while delivering crack cocaine to a client at a shop in town and was released on November 2017 after serving 12 months of a 18-month sentence.

“I paid my dues and learned a valuable­ life-altering lesson. I do not miss the money and don't intend to snitch on other drug dealers. I just want to warn the youth of the dangers associated with this destructive habit and create awareness that Walvis Bay is infected with drugs.”

Despite this, certain members of society remains judgemental towards him and regard him as a criminal.

“It's our human nature to blame. Rather come forward with initiatives and preventative measures. I feel guilty when I come across my former clientele and always encourage­ them to do something to change. I was locked up for a year and since I rejoined society, have come to realise that the drug situation has worsened considerably in Walvis Bay.”

He says many people are not caught and continue doing wrong things for as long as they get away with it.



GETTING HELP

“When I landed behind bars, the Coastal Drug Awareness Campaign (CODAC) helped me. I served my sentence. Many however still look at me in a funny way. Everybody makes mistakes and gets second chances. There are programmes in prisons. It depends on your mindset and it's advisable to engage in sport or a creative activity when behind bars.”

According to Jason circumstances pushed him into the drug dealing trade.

He was born in South Africa and lost his mother when he was 10 years old.

“I had to fend for my sister (6). We moved to Namibia and transitioned from living a moderate lifestyle to one of poverty. We lived with our grandparents. I did not focus on my education and finished with below the par grades. This resulted in me being unable to find a job. I started selling crack cocaine and cocaine powder for two years, from 2011 until 2013, when I got caught.”

Jason became a converted Christian in 2014. He was busy with a diploma in construction engineering and before he registered his business, his dealing with drugs (prohibited substance) case came before court. The judge handed him an 18-month sentence.

“I met other drug dealers in prison. It eventually dawned on me that drugs have a destructive effect on the youth and society in general. We joined efforts­ and started CODAC in 2016.

“Since then we addressed over 10 000 youngsters at schools and churches­ about the dangers of drugs. We educate, create awareness and try to change the mindsets of drug abusers.­ We do not catch drug ­dealers.”

The former drug dealer says he understands why some prefer to sell drugs, but advises them to get out before they are caught.

“I do not agree with it (selling of drugs). The fancy cars and branded clothing are just a show. Deep down you're a very lonely individual.”

Jason says a lack of finances, absence of parental supervision and skills are the main reasons why youngsters opt to join the illicit drug dealing trade. Many simply do not have options.

He advised the youth to remain focused­ on their education and to plan properly.

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