Seeing Odwa Madikizela standing proudly in his sprawling and thriving vegetable garden in Slovo Park near Mthatha, it’s hard to imagine that not so long ago, he could have been another young life wrecked by drugs.
The 33-year-old Port St Johns-born man has not only managed to kick drugs out of his life, but today has a stable job as a security guard working for the national Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s Mthatha offices.
His job entails guarding the department’s offices every night – but it is what he does during the day that has caught the attention of his neighbourhood.
That’s when he tends to his well-manicured garden where he produces vegetables which he sells to the local community.
Born in Gomolo village in PSJ, Madikizela was always surrounded by poverty at home.
Both parents were unemployed and his mother resorted to selling home-brewed traditional beer to feed her eight children.
Although the youngster attended school, he was drawn to a life of drugs around the age of 13 while in Grade 4.
For the full story get a copy of the Dispatch or subscribe to our e-Edition for the complete newspaper with jobs, classifieds, crosswords, TV schedules and back editions.