One woman has taken it upon herself to help fight the drug scourge in her community
from home and is living in the streets where she is being fed drugs and sleeping with older men.
“This is not strange in Eldos at all ... We have many other children in the same situation where others are forced into drugs because they have no parents to look after them in households where everyone is a drug user,” James said.
The child was taken to the social workers next door to the station.
“Eldorado Park is decaying because of drugs that are being sold like sweets everywhere and all the police are doing is arresting users, while turning a blind eye to the main suppliers – the big fish. We need to fight the core problem and not kill our own,” she says.
The young man James tried to save from mob justice was not the first that day – she had earlier saved another from a similar attack.
“First, we went and removed from one of the lolly lounges one of the girls who was also suspected of having a hand in Junaid’s death because her life was in danger. Together with the ladies I work with, we went to the flats in Extension 1 where the mob was stoning one boy’s house.
“Before the situation got out of hand, I went to the flat and asked the boy to wrap his hands around my body from the back and we walked out slowly as I pleaded with the community to allow me to hand him over to the police,” she said.
“Moments later, while at the police station, I got the message that the mob had gone to the second boy’s house, but officers refused to go there, saying a special unit was needed for that.
“Then someone ran in saying they now had the boy ... We arrived there, but he was already dead.”
As an activist in Eldorado Park, James has seen it all – from saving young girls from the infamous lolly lounges synonymous with drugs and underage prostitution, to seeing bright young minds destroyed by drugs. But she refuses to give up.
“It all started when my own son got hooked on drugs. I fought the addiction with him and although he is clean, the fight continues because we need a clean environment for him and others with fewer people who would lure them back to the bad side,” she says.
“We live in a community where almost every second boy or man has been to prison or have criminal records, rendering them unemployable, and many others who are forced into drugs by different circumstances.”
In her continued fight against drugs, James founded an organisation called Sharing Without Shame.
“We assist drug addicts and place them in rehabilitation centres and give them support afterwards. More than 100 addicts have walked through our doors.”