Drug merchant turned art teacher gives back
HE SOLD drugs to young kids and spent time in prison because of it. Now Mark Jeneker, from Mitchells Plain in Cape Town, is teaching children art.
Jeneker, 51, has been teaching young children how to paint at the Town Centre Library in Mitchells Plain.
He is also a volunteer art teacher at Yellowwood Primary School.
“I was a drug merchant for 20 years, and after the murder of my two sons, I told myself that I needed to change.”
Not being able to pay for the funeral of one of his sons, he decided to approach Oval North Secondary School and Littlewood Primary School in Beacon Valley.
There he sold art to raise funds for the funeral and managed to make more than R5000.
“That’s where it all started. I thought to myself that if I can ruin these children’s lives by selling drugs to them, I can make a difference by doing something positive.”
This year will be the fifth year that Jeneker is actively involved in serving his community. He specialises in abstract art and creating 3D sculptures from recyclable material. In 2015, Jeneker won R25 000 for his school in a competition.
He has also won numerous awards for the selfless commitment he has made to the community, including being Lead SA hero in August 2016.
The principal of Yellowwood Primary, Donovan Senosi, said: “Jeneker has come in as a saviour. Since his arrival, all the kids talk about is art.”
In February last year, Jeneker’s class was set alight by two pupils, but he persisted by having classes in the quadrangle.
The classes he offers at Yellowwood Primary cost a mere R5 per child. “I am not doing this for the money, and some children can’t even afford to pay R5. I owe this to them.”
Senosi approached Jeneker about two years ago to teach art at his school. “I am a firm believer in second chances and as you can see today, Jeneker is an example of what second chances can do.”
The art teacher can do much more with help from the community. He isn’t asking for money or recognition. All he wants to do is give back.
Jeneker is appealing to potential sponsors to join and share his vision in creating a better life for the youth through art.
GIVING BACK: Former drug dealer Mark Jeneker.