INTERVIEW WITH OUR ADVOCATE FOR CHANGE AND FORMER DIVERTEE NALEDI MORAKA
Naledi (22) is one of our divertee graduates who was referred to the
programme when he was a student at Nkobong High school in Kraalhoek
in 2019. We spoke to him about the circumstances that led to his referral,
his experiences with the programme and how it has shaped his life ever
since. We are very grateful to him for opening up to us about his life and
experiences. Naledi is a shining example of why the diversion programme
is so important.
Hi Naledi! Thanks for sitting down to speak to us about your time in the
Khulisa divertee programme.
Can you describe your life at the time of
‘Well, just like most teenagers I was dealing with certain social
challenges in my community, household and school environment. I
came to a point where the only thing I wanted to do was hang out
with my friends, but I didn’t realise how I was letting them negatively
influence my life at school and at home.’
How were your friends negatively influencing your life?
‘I think peer pressure played a big role, even though I didn’t realise
it back then. I was always willing to go along with my friends’ ideas
without thinking about the possible consequences to my actions. That’s
when I started using substances at school and in my community. I was uncontrollable in class and
very rude towards my teachers, as well as not doing my school work.’
Is that when your school decided to refer you to Khulisa?
‘Yes, my school referred me to Khulisa because my bad behaviour and substance abuse were getting
out of hand.’
I see. And how did your parents feel when you were referred?
‘My parents had noticed my bad behaviour and poor school performance and they felt that I had
changed in a negative way. When Khulisa social workers contacted them and explained how they
might be able to help me, my parents felt enormously relieved and encouraged that things could get
But more importantly, how did you feel when you were referred?
‘When I was referred I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was curious about the programme, but I
also felt angry at times. It wasn’t until I really understood the programme and Khulisa’s purpose that I
realised they were trying to help me.’
I can imagine it must’ve been a stressful time. Are you happy that you were referred to Khulisa in the
‘Yes, Khulisa has helped me think about my future in a productive way. A part of me was tired of the
lifestyle that I was living and I saw how it was going to ruin my life and my future. Khulisa empowered
me to want to learn and further develop myself. The programme has been a hugely positive influence
in my life, as I was able to identify and change a lot of the negative influences in my life. I started
taking my life and my education more seriously, finished school and allowed myself to develop my life
in a positive way.’
How did Khulisa help you make this positive change?
‘By attending the Silence the Violence life skills programme, I was able to see how I was being violent
towards myself by using substances, engaging in negative self-talk and being friends with negative
people. It made me realise that I was only harming myself and my own future by acting the way I
did. It has taught me a lot about how to communicate better and how to express my concerns and
feelings to others. This skill has helped me to say no to my friends when I’m feeling peer pressure and
has taught me how to stand up for myself and my future. I also used to treat people very badly for no
reason and when people rejected me I would get angry, making everything even worse. Because of
the programme, I now have much better relationship and people skills than I did before. Ultimately it
has changed my outlook on life.’
How else has your life changed since being part of the diversion programme?
‘I started focusing more on my schooling, finished my grade 12 and stopped hanging out with
negative and self-destructive friends, allowing my substances usage to minimize – I also became a
volunteer at Khulisa and joined a Community project. I was trained to conduct dialogue circles and
support groups in communities, which allows us to gather important data and work together with the
community in finding solutions to the different social challenges they experience. I was also able to
join the Youth at Work employment programme at Khulisa Social Solutions. I’m now a peer educator
and have been trained on engaging and offering support to school learners.’
How did the people around you react to this?‘My parents, as well as the people around me in my community, are very proud of me and happy to
see that I’ve changed my ways and have created a better life for myself. They can see how I’m making
a difference in the lives of children by guiding and supporting them to be responsible and not use
That’s amazing to hear. What motivated you to make this change?
‘All of the negative experiences I went through have motivated me to want to change my life for the
better. They have made me want to play a more active role in supporting my family and empower
myself with knowledge and skills, increasing my chances of being employed and living a positive life.’
What are you currently doing?
‘I now work as a peer educator under the guidance of Khulisa Social Solutions and Youth at Work,
where I have been placed in a primary school and high school to offer schools and learners the
support they need. I am currently conducting Awareness Campaigns and Dialogues circles with
learners, helping them to better understand the social challenges they face and how to deal with them
in a constructive way.’
And do you like it?
‘Yes, I feel so happy and privileged to have been given a chance to improve my life and myself as an
individual. I have been given an opportunity to change, grow and become independent.’