Romeo-Restored Lives

Recovered from Addiction – Romeo Mbambami

Romeo grew up in Port Elizabeth – fatherless – like so many other young boys with drug-related problems. It was loneliness that drove him to cigarettes at a very young age, then dagga, other drugs, and even alcohol by the time he was 15 years old. Romeo wanted to be popular to make up for the loneliness that he constantly struggled with and got involved with the wrong people. Witnessing a violent attack on his neighbour also had a negative effect on him.

Romeo’s mother sent him to a rehabilitation centre. Still, he did not receive the help and guidance that he needed there. For a few weeks after he returned home, he tried to be “a good boy” as he put it, but that did not last long. During this time, he continued to use drugs, and his life spiralled out of control.

It was a close relative who cared enough to prompt him to go to a place she heard provided excellent care to addicts and apparently was very successful with their programmes. This place was the rehabilitation centre at KwaSizabantu. It was only then, with the help of the caring people at the Mission that Romeo’s life started to get back on track, and he was completely healed.

Romeo continues to get advice from his spiritual mentor and currently works in the Mission’s kitchen. Because he dropped out of school in Grade 9, he requested the Mission for an opportunity to finish his schooling, which they granted to him. I asked him why he likes it so much at the Mission. His quick answer was, “You learn here to be thankful and to show gratitude. The people here accepted me, while my own family and friends rejected me”. His spiritual family at the Mission also help him to feel and live closer to God.

Romeo is a Xhosa. He wants to glorify God and believes Jesus is the only way. He refused to “go to the mountain” and chose to go to the hospital to be circumcised; a decision his family did not support. He now lives a fulfilled life and has many plans for his future.

About Restores Lives

The Concerned Young People of South Africa (CYPSA) is housed on the premises of the KwaSizabantu Mission and runs a three-week programme for people fighting addictions. Marcel and Romeo (stories below) both attended the programmes and are no longer broken people. The young men are now free from drugs and alcohol, and they willingly participate in the programmes. They still interact regularly with the pastoral caretakers, and they choose to work at the Mission as they feel driven to help others like they have been helped.

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