A walk to make a mark

Kabelo Dipholo
WALKING FOR CHANGE: Participants at a past walk

Saving Ghetto from alcohol and substance abuse

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Recovered alcoholic-turned-activist, Tumelo Sengawane, is making waves across the country through his NGO ‘Drug Free is the New Cool’.

Following successful walks in Gaborone, Molepolole and Maun, the Executive Director and his team now turn their sights on the second city.

The organisation are planning a massive activation in Francistown on Saturday 12th November.

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Setting off at Galo Mall, the 10km route will go through China Town, Area L, Donga, Somerset, Blue Jacket Street and Minestone before doubling back to the starting point.

Speaking to The Voice this week, Sengawane explained such events are part of their mandate as an NGO, which is to share anti-alcohol and substance abuse messages, conduct screening and referrals for treatment of ailments related to alcohol and drug use.

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“We provide screening and brief interventions for those who want rehabilitation. We came here at the invitation of concerned Francistowners. The city is among the highest grappling with the scourge of substance abuse,” revealed Sengawane.

Organisers hope to leave a lasting legacy in the city, with volunteers for the walk capacitated to continue with the project in the team leaders’ absence.

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“We’re working with private organisations through partnerships with the likes of The Voice, Rhapsody Botswana, Complete Insurance Brokers and Coca Cola Beverages Botswana,” he said.

The NGO has also collaborated with Miss Hope Pageant, whose contestants have been volunteering since the inception of the tour.

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With a little over two weeks till the big day, Sengawane remains hopeful of securing more sponsors from the private sector.

“Our main aim is to see multitudes coming to stand in solidarity as a community to speak out against alcohol and substance abuse. It’s an awkward topic that many choose to ignore, but we have to talk about it and encourage people to seek help,” he declared.

“It is not a secret that as a society we’ve a problem. I’ve been there and I know what I’m talking about, remaining silent won’t make the problem go away,” charged Sengawane.

Besides the walk, activities on the day will include testimonies from recoveries, display of drugs by Botswana Police and aerobics.

The walk is expected to commence at 0630hrs, with registration done half an hour earlier.

“Registration is free, but we’ve P170 t-shirts which will be worn by all those taking part,” he concluded.

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