Mama can’t cope with addict’s 6 problem kids
THEY CALL her “Mama”. They are six half-siblings aged between four and 14, four boys and two girls. Their real mother is a 32-year-old drug addict who turned tricks to feed her drug habit, and they have no idea who their fathers are.
But now Mama, 62, the foster mother who has taken them in over the years, is seriously considering giving them up because she can no longer cope. She says some smoke dagga and the younger ones steal.
Mama, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the children, said she feared if they continued like that they would be trapped in the same vicious cycle that took their mother from them.
But if she does give them up the children, boys aged 14, 13, 10 and eight, and the girls aged six and four, fear they will be split up and end up in orphanages.
The three older boys saw first hand what drugs did to their mother. They said they had to make do with no food, being left dirty and having to fend for themselves and their younger siblings.
“Our mother used to feed us sugar water and packets of chips, even for the babies,” the eldest said. His mother smoked dagga, but it was rocks – crack cocaine – and tik (methampetamine) that really caused the damage. The children last saw her almost three years ago and could hardly recognise her. “She looked different and she had marks on her face,” said one child.
The boys remember being moved around a lot and said their mother and her boyfriend fought all the time.
“We were never fed in the mornings or evenings and if we’d stayed there we would not have gone to school.”
The boys admitted that they had experimented with dagga, but said they had stopped. The eldest said a local merchant recently approached him, saying: “One day you will be selling drugs for me.”
The comment has haunted him, but he said he would never turn to hardcore drugs because of the effect they had on his childhood. The children say local kids as young as seven smoke dagga while older boys use tik and Mandrax. “They even do drugs at our school.”
Mama said the younger children were turning out to be the most difficult to handle.
“From small they have had long fingers, stealing whatever they can get their hands on. I cannot take them anywhere.”
Sobbing about the most recent incident, Mama said she was now contemplating giving up all six children.
The last straw was when the eight-year-old boy and the sixyear-old girl broke into her tenant’s Wendy house, stealing three cellphones, jewellery and food. After her tenant told her about the theft, Mama said she gave the two a hiding.
Two days later police were questioning the two children after the school reported that they had marks consistent with being hit with a stick or belt on their faces and knuckles.
“I have always said the thing with their mother has negatively affected their behaviour; they need counselling and nobody is helping me get them the proper treatment. I can no longer do this alone,” Mama said.
Since the four-year-old was sent to live with Mama, the children’s mother has had two more children.