My name is Manqoba Comfort Ngubane. I was raised by my grandmother in dire poverty, and because of this I became a bitter and angry child. My mother passed on when I was young and my father lived with another partner and did not give me the attention I needed, or provide for me financially. I had to beg him for everything I needed – it broke my heart and it left me angry.

I started using drugs and alcohol when I was 18 years old because I thought it would help shift my focus away from my problems. My friends told me that drugs and drinking were going to help me forget my problems. I then started smoking whoonga and I went to nightclubs. To feed my addiction I robbed people of their belongings and sold them. Smoking and drinking did not help me with anything though, instead, I became depressed. I smoked and drank heavily and my family was not happy with my bad behavior. I was chased out of the house because I stole my grandmother’s pension money. I moved from one place to another.

My life changed after I went to a shelter at Lahee Park during Level 5 of the national lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In my first week at Lahee Park, I met Kirshnie Pather, who is a facilitator with WORK 4 A LIVING. She taught me Life Skills during the Job Readiness program I attended, which also covers topics like Financial Literacy, Professionalism, Work Ethics and Values.

She also taught me about God.

I did not know how to pray, but I said to myself if God exists then He must change my life. That same week, God showed me His existence – because since then I have never taken drugs (whoonga) or drunk alcohol again. God’s presence in my life gave me the strength to not go back to my old life. His presence brought me peace and joy. I forgave my father and I also have a healthy relationship with my family.

I now have my own business sourcing and selling gym-wear, and have started a fast food tuck shop. I am seeing a profit, have a place to stay, and have employed two people! Surrendering my problems to God gave me a permanent solution to my problems.

“Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you. And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.”

Luke 8:39