Posted by Olaniyi Abodedele on Saturday, January 18, 2014 Under: Conferences & Events
“Let Love Lead!” That was the theme of an awareness campaign initiative against drugs abuse among South African youths. The event marking the 16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women also included launching of a book written by nine women who are survivors of drugs and abuse. It took place on the 6th of December 2013 at the Johannesburg City Hall, Johannesburg.
The event was organized by a community-based organization, PAMOJA in conjunction with Soweto Ministers Fraternal, Bookafe, , Christians for peace, Sekwanele, Ungcede. Channel Africa SABC, La Re’ Fe’ rance and The Nigerian Voice newspaper were media partners.
Let Love Lead project is an initiative to fight drug abuse among youths in different communities across South Africa. In her opening speech, Pastor Gugu, the convener of the meeting explained to the audience that PAMOJA is a cooperative that promotes social cohesion and integration of foreign nationals. PAMOJA, according to the convener, believes that foreigners are not only guilty of drug problem because South African citizens are also involved. She explained that not all foreign people are evil. She compared foreigners to Abraham in the Bible who God sent to help Israel. She advised South Africans to refrain from throwing blanket statement on every Nigerian as drug dealers where only a handful of them are involved. She also informed the audience of the benefits of Nigeria to South African. She gave example of spiritual tourism to Nigeria in which no less than 3,000 South Africans visit the famous Nigerian prophet TB Joshua monthly. She confirmed that the Nigerian prophet has been helping South Africans stranded in Nigeria financially. “And also, he has used his healing and prophetic ministry to bring spiritual deliverance and healing to fellow South African citizens”, the convener revealed.
Pastor Kitutu who delivered the welcome address submitted that drug abuse are dangerous than other crimes because its destroys the youth. He emphasized that this issue concerns Africa and the whole world. The Pastor who was representing Christian for Peace in Africa challenged foreign nationals to think like Joseph in Egypt by getting involved in the fight against the drug abuse.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Sandra Menegocci from Bookafe, Brazil emphasized on the theme of the project Let Love Lead. She believed that ‘love heals more than most medicine, because most problems we have are emotional’. She appealed to the audience to choose love in their fight against drugs abuse and other social problems.
Mr. Olaniyi Thevoice Abodedele, represented the Nigerian community in his capacity as the publisher of the Nigerian Voice Newspaper. He gave rousing speech about the roles of Nigeria as the fifth frontline state in the fight against apartheid. And the role of Nigerian people in contributing into the account of what was called South African relief funds and the Nigerian government’s provision of scholarships to ANC heroes that studied in the country during the apartheid period. The newspaper publisher mentioned that the Nigerian state led the delegation of countries in fighting against apartheid regime at the United Nations. He was particularly worried about the generalization of all Nigerians as drug dealers when majority of them are professors, medical doctors, teachers and business owners in all the provinces of the countries.
Stakeholders at the meeting agreed that the fight against drug abuse needs long term solutions and consistent follow-up even after the meeting of the day. Pastor Gugu tasked stakeholders to address the spirit behind drugs rather than person. She urged them to support the noble cause. Also, as part of the solutions to war against drugs abuse, Mr. Abodedele advised that pointing fingers will not solve the problems. He advocated for working together of all stakeholders and promised the support of the newspaper in this regard.
The convener said of the book written by nine women who themselves are survivors of abuse and drugs, as a product of PAMOJA and SMF relationship. According to her, the book speaks to people with drugs challenges through the personal stories and testimonies of women who survived it.
Let Love Lead project aims to get affected young people out of drugs and get them into businesses through self-discovery and talents development. The project entrepreneurship drive is supported by the University of Johannesburg.
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