Ellen Pakkies shares all

09 July 2019 | Life Style

“I just wanted to talk to him; ask him politely why he refuses to leave the drugs; that is all I intended to do that morning of 12 September 2007.”

These were the words of the 58-year-old South African mother, Ellen Pakkies, who strangled her son Adam to death after suffering abuse at his hands for many years due to his addiction to drugs.

The energetic and lively Pakkies, who is on tour at the coastal towns of Namibia, shared her story with a fully packed gathering at the ESK Church in Swakopmund last week.

She narrated how, although she is still hurt by the loss of her son nearly 15 years ago, she has learnt to move on and live a stress- and bitter-free life.

“I am also healing by sharing my story with people and I have just learnt to stop worrying about things and holding unnecessary grudges,” Pakkies told the congregation.

The Lavender Hill mother narrated the difficult life she experienced growing up, during which she was kidnapped, raped, molested and sodomised by close relatives, friends and acquaintances from the age of nine and running away from home at age 13.

“Although I grew up with both my biological parents and later stepfather, they were all alcoholics, so I basically raised myself all my life. I just wanted to be loved, to feel my mother's love and be supported. But I never experienced any of that, so I decided to run away from home and things just got worse from there,” elaborated Pakkies.

She described how she started using drugs while on the streets and became a sex worker to survive.

“All three of my children were addicted to Tik at some point and my older son, who was the first one to introduce the drug to my younger son (deceased), is still using drugs to this day.

Pakkies, who has dedicated her life to community work and fighting against drug use, noted that despite all the hardships she went through in life, she learnt to forgive people, dusted herself off and decided to make an honest and better life for herself. She urged people to face their problems, speak about them and find solutions to them instead of running away.

She further advised parents to talk to their children openly about drugs and other life problems and never to disregard anything suspicious that they think their children might be involved in.

“Also, stop protecting your children when they are in the wrong, this only enables them to think what they are doing is okay and it could lead them deeper into the wrong. Never tire to talk and listen to your children, consistency is key in raising children,” she urged.

Pakkies' visit was in response to an invitation by the Coastal Drug Awareness Campaign (CODAC), a programme established in 2016 and spearheaded by offenders and officers at the Walvis Bay Correctional Facility.

One of the campaign members, Fabian Langenhoven said the programme is aimed at encouraging pupils, parents, caregivers, teachers, health professionals, business owners and community leaders to help the youth to reject illegal drugs and underage alcohol and tobacco use.

- Nampa

Isabel Bento

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