Eveline de Klerk
Swakopmund-A convicted drug dealer is using his experience with drugs to educate others about its devastating consequences.
Jason Cecil Nani, 26, was a well-known cocaine dealer at the coast but spent 18 months in prison for dealing in illicit drugs.
He is now using that experience and the hardships he has endured as a young man to encourage others not to choose the path he chose.
Nani and several other offenders, some of whom are already released into society, and others still incarcerated, assisted by prison officers started a project, Coastal Offenders Drug Awareness Campaign (Codac) in 2016 to create awareness about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.
Speaking to New Era earlier this week, Nani said he would do everything in his power, along with others, to encourage anyone thinking of being involved with drugs not to do so.
He explained that drugs not only get former dealers and users judged by society but they also find it difficult to be reintegrated into society.
“Drugs are not worth anybody’s time and energy. It destroys families and brings guilt along and that is why I want to use my experiences to help others. Doesn’t matter how long it takes, I will do it,” said Nani.
He said that in many cases poverty, unemployment and the absence of parents, especially a father, plays a role in many young people looking for love and acceptance elsewhere, and end up hanging around with the wrong crowd.
“I used my circumstances to find a quick and easy was to escape poverty but it cost me dearly. Nerveless, it’s never too late to make changes and live as you are required by law,” he says. “I was young and naive and caught got up with the wrong people. In the process, I destroyed families and the lives of others. However, I learned a valuable lesson, which is that your circumstance should not and does not define your destiny or you as a person. You have to take control of your own life,” he says. He says that he and his sister were born in South Africa and had a normal upbringing and lifestyle. They did not lack anything as their mother had a good job and they could maintain a middle-class lifestyle.
“However, my mother died when I was nine and on her deathbed I promised to look after my sister. Shortly after her death, we had to relocate to Walvis Bay to live with our grandmother,” he reminisced.
According to Nani they were welcomed by abject poverty when they arrived in Walvis Bay.
“It was difficult but we finished high school but I found it difficult to find a job and that’s how I got involved in selling cocaine.”
He says he never used cocaine although he sold it.
“I was caught through marked money that I was paid with by one of my clients and that was my turning point,” he said. Nani says when he went to prison he met up with former users who also wanted to turn their lives around. He added that while serving their sentences they started encouraging each other and decided to use their experience to help reform addicts and dealers.
“I mean what happens in the past is done, I am not proud of it but I also cannot sit and regret what I did in the past. Hence, we decided to use that experience and share it especially with our young ones. We are visiting schools and simply tell our story and the consequences of drugs,” said the seemingly reformed Nani.
Codac can be contacted on 064-283 900 for more information about their awareness campaign.