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At the donation handover are Dr Nirmala Gopal
(back row, second left); Criminology student Mr
Nathie Hadebe (back row, third left) and Mr Roine
Wiklund and his son (back row, fourth left).

Seeing the rise of drug abuse at his former high school, Khabazela High in Hillcrest, Criminology student Mr Nathie Hadebe took it upon himself to get involved in community development and to provide help to the learners.

Through his lectures at the University, Hadebe managed to form the KB Smart Club at the school which focuses on the issues of drug and substance abuse.

Speaking about his involvement in the project Hadebe said, ‘When I was a learner at the school, I saw how drugs affected learners, the consequences they endured because of this, teen pregnancies and poor academic performances. When I attended UKZN, the opportunity arose for community development in the form of Smart Clubs and I grabbed the chance to make a difference in the school.’

The fully fledged club currently has 20 members from grades 8 to 11. Hadebe explained that the club members are informed about drug abuse, thereafter they go to other classes to create awareness about the dangers of drugs and collectively provide the necessary help to the affected learners such as referrals to rehabilitation centres.

The club is currently negotiating a partnership with a rehabilitation centre in the immediate area so learners can get the support and help they need. As the popularity and the success of the club grows, Hadebe is confident that the membership will also increase, leading to an overall improvement of the school in terms of academia and its infrastructure.

Hadebe has also become a role model for the learners, often encouraging the learners to follow their dreams and to make a success of their lives. He hopes that even UKZN students could get involved in giving motivational talks to the learners and develop programmes for them to participate in.

In a positive turn of events, the formation of the KS Smart Club at the school, has led to the establishment of a three-way partnership between UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences, Khabazela High School and Luleå University of Technology (LUT) in Sweden.

As part of the Linnaeus-Palme International Exchange Programme, Assistant Lecturer at the Department of Economics, Technology and Society at LUT Mr Roine Wiklund visited the school with Hadebe and UKZN Criminology Lecturer Dr Nirmala Gopal. Wiklund and saw the dire condition that the school was in, seeing learners trying to learn in classrooms with broken windows, few desks and chairs and dealing with ongoing physical infrastructural problems.

Wiklund saw the need to help as much as he could. He donated R11, 000- that was raised during his exchange duration at UKZN – so that the school could build a library.

‘I am only happy if the donation can be of any help to the students at Khabazela High School. I wish that all children would have the possibility of studying and through that develop their knowledge and become responsible citizens. It is important to lend a helping hand to someone in need, and that is what I did here together with colleagues in both Sweden and South Africa,’ said Wiklund.

Addressing her student’s involvement in such an initiative, Dr Gopal said, ‘We are proud of Nathie for what he has managed to do for the school. He has used his knowledge and ploughed it back into the community.’

Khabazela High School Principal, Mr Philip Jali expressed his gratitude to Hadebe, Wiklund and UKZN’s School of Applied Human Sciences for their positive involvement in the school.

‘We really appreciate the donation and we cannot wait to see our new library. Our learners are excited that we have the KS Smart Club and it brings such confidence to them and the educators. Through the club, even the academic performance can improve on a daily basis. The learners are motivated to do well and we as staff of the school feel rejuvenated by this kind gesture.’

Jali revealed that the school has elected a new School Governing Body (SGB) to look at getting more sponsors on board to improve the school’s infrastructure and is contacting former learners of the school to assist matrics and provide motivation to them.

Interested person/s who wish to get involved in helping Khabazela High School can contact Mr Nathie Hadebe via nathie4h@gmail.com