I’ve never really been a bookworm in my life but this year has changed me for the better. I have become a better person who is hungry for knowledge and would do just about anything to stay woke.
With all the kind of books I could choose from, I’ve decided to go with anything about politics. I was never into politics really until I decided to pursue a career in Journalism. Not that I was uninformed or ignorant, I guess my passion for environment and culture surpassed. When I am doing my post-graduate level, I decide to do my thesis based on the topic “women homelessness”. This is exactly when I become aware of what homelessness entails in a South African context and what prejudices those who are homeless are faced with, including the persistent scourge of drug addiction and drug dealing. Ever since I spent time and investigated those women’s stories I have gained much interest in women, crime and drugs.
Although I am informed about the escalating root of drug dealing and addiction in South Africa, I haven’t come accross any interesting yet excruciating read about such especially because I usually read scholarly journal articles. Until I find myself pacing up and down the local library trying to find a book for the weekend, I only come across boring titles until I decide to check the book at the back of the shelf and oh my God! It’s titled “Drug Muled Sixteen Years in A Thai Prison”, it’s a book by one of the most renowned journalists and someone I look up to, Joanne Joseph.
Drug Muled is like nothing I have readbefore. It is excruciating and has changed my whole perspective on drugs and prisons. I have never read a story of a single person and felt so touched, each time I flipped a page over I could feel the tears scalding my eyes. It’s well written in such a way that it takes the person’s story and brings it to life, your own life and imagine what you could have made of the situation had it been you.
Sometimes we don’t normally put ourselves in other people’s shoes but Vanessa’s story paints a picture that one cannot help but think of the reality of the pain she had to endure for sixteen years at such a young age. The inhumane circumstances that she found herself faced with and the time she lost behind those high shallow walls, thousands miles away from home.
Vanessa’s story allowed me a chance to do a self introspection and look around me, the people in my life and the trust that I constantly try to build up. The question rises, what would I do if I had to be betrayed by my loved ones? How would I be able to get past all it and live through? Wether I’d be strong enough to fight foe survival or I’d lose the battle without even attempting to fight. The story of her lost youth behind those walls is still stuck with me and seemingly, it will be for quite a while.