When I was younger, I used to think hope is for other people, not for me. I would look at the madness around me and say to myself, “Is this all there is to life?”
I grew up in Samora, Cape Town, where I spent my youth as a part of a gang. We would smoke drugs and abuse alcohol, to the point where I was unrecognisable, even to myself. I was arrested for being in possession of a firearm. After nine months in prison I made some critical life decisions that altered where I was heading. The main one was accepting Jesus as my personal saviour.
When I left prisonI started working at the Gangstar Café. I’ve been trained as a barista and have progressed to be a junior manager. I love to tell my story about how God changed my life.
I was arrested for armed robbery at the age of 17. During this time, I would often pass by a church service in the courtyard of the prison and I eventually decided to join them. I would listen to them as they would share the gospel and pray for the outcome of my another case against me.
From that moment, I knew God had a bigger plan for me so, I decided to tell the gang that I was done with this fake lifestyle and no longer wanted to be a part of it. I knew that I needed to change.
Three months later, I joined the message Reintegration Programme and shortly after, was sent for barista training. Since then, I have been working for Gangstar Cafe as a barista and I can confidently say that I have found my true identity in Christ. I am now able to provide for my family and I am seeing God restore my relationships between others and my community.
Every day, I pray that the Lord uses me more than the devil ever did.
GANGSTARS EMPLOYED ELSEWHERE!
I made many wrong decisions in the past, I was illiterate and I thought I was stupid. I carried this secret as a child and regretted being born, even trying to commit suicide as I did not want to live.
In 2012 I was arrested for drug trafficking and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. It was in prison where I decided to accept Jesus Christ into my life. It was the best decision I ever made.
When I was released from prison I contacted The Message Trust and they later employed me at Gangstar Café. I am now a trained barista and have been able to learn new skills and share my story with many people. My long term vision is to set up a community programme to mentor and provide opportunities for young people in the township where I live.
When I was a teenager, I became heavily addicted to drugs, which lead me to dropping out of school, bad influences and the need to provide finances for my drug habit. As a result I turned to gangsterism and crime, which ultimately landed me in prison in 2016.
Prison became the first turning point in my life. I no longer wanted to be addicted to the drugs that put me there. This change in mindset encouraged me to take part in church services in prison which eventually lead me to meeting Jesus, making the long term commitment to turn my life around through his strength.
After being released, I attended The Message Trust’s reintegration programme where they later connected me with Gangstar Café. I had always dreamed of being in hospitality, which motivated me to work as hard as I could, resulting in my being at the top of my class at the barista training course I attended.
My life is now focused on change, being my own personal testimony to myself as well as offering the same encouragement to others. I dream of one day owning my own Gangstar Café.