Saved from a life of drugs: Mpumelelo Buthelezi’s story of hope

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Mpumelelo Buthelezi spends his time empowering boys through his story

“Single mothers must learn to forgive themselves because that will help them to better assist their boys to recovery…”

Was lost but now found is exactly who Mpumelelo Buthelezi is, a God fearing man that was saved from drugs by the Word. Buthelezi’s runs a program called Boys mentorship South Africa where he mentors boys affected by drugs and alcohol.

He has extended his program to single mothers. The program teaches single mothers on how to support boys on their path to recovery.

‘My Story Your Lesson’ is an awareness campaign for boys battling or surviving drugs. The campaign emphasizes the dangers of drugs.

Buthelezi’s ability to be a mentor stems from public speaking. He dedicated the years between 2012-2016 advocating for drug awareness. In his advocacy he became aware that a one day awareness campaign was not enough because the boys needed long term support.

In his quest to improve the recovery process he created a 3 day camp to assist boys in their recovery. He strongly believes that parents need to participate in the recovery process and that made him dedicate the 3rd day of camp to educate parents.

Buthelezi says according to research boys with absent fathers have a higher chance of being involved in drugs and higher chance of being involved in criminal activities.

Although Mpumelelo’s story does not echo that of a typical absent father, he explains the levels of different forms of an absent father. He makes an interesting point by outlining the benefits of having both parents under the same roof but yet still feel as though parents are absent and unable to meet children at the point of need.

“My father provided for me the best way he knew how”, says Mpumelelo.

 In his path of self discovery and awareness he learns that young boys turn out the way they do in life according to the treatment received at home and young boys absorb behavior from there fathers or leading man in their lives.

“At times parents have to be away from home for long periods for employment purposes, unfortunately even though it’s for the greater good, the father becomes absent. The distance makes it difficult for young boys to have solid relationship with their fathers.  My father is a product of his parents”.

Buthelezi was born in KZN and lived in Richards Bay. He found himself involved in crime endorsed by a dangerous gang in Richards Bay. He could not cut ties with the gang for a long time because the gang practically “owned” him.

At that time he was only smoking marijuana. He reached a point where he wanted out of the gang without the gang harming his family and loved ones. In his attempt to escape the gang he vanished on the face of the earth for at least 2 years.

Buthelezi found himself on the streets, homeless, and that is where his life spiraled out of control. He was involved in drugs and started to drink heavily. He needed to adapt to his new reality and his only coping mechanism was drugs and alcohol also supported by the wrong company.

Buthelezi’s rescue came when he was introduced to the church and his pastor who was also his mentor advised him to come to church as he was – knowing that God had a way of reshaping his children.

“My mentor knew that you can’t have an encounter with God and remain the same”, he says. Buthelezi was introduced to several activities in church such as singing in the choir and sound operation. His mentor kept him busy in order to help him to think less of drugs and alcohol while he recovers.

The My Story Your Lesson’ pioneer encourages boys in his program to stay busy because it helps them to concentrate on other things besides drugs. 

Buthelezi has traveled to different provinces such as Eastern Cape and him home province of KZN establishing programs mostly formed with soccer teams.

He says “I work with soccer teams and coaches because once I move I need a mentor to carry on with the work I have started”. Therefore he empowers the coach enough to take the reins once he’s gone. His journey has now lead him to Johannesburg where he aims to expand his program.

Mpumelelo is now preparing for a radio tour where he will share his message on drug awareness. He also plans on creating an audio booklet and video clips in order to share his teachings to the parts of the world where he cannot reach. He also aims to support single mothers more and says “single mothers must learn to forgive themselves because that will help them to better assist their boys to recovery”.

Buthelezi says there’s a lot to be done if everyone could play a small part – young boys in drugs can be afforded a brighter future.

By Sandra Lesenyeho

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