Bringing a Town Destroyed by Apartheid Back to Life

Tackling drug abuse in Sophiatown, South Africa

One of the infamous and flagrant abuses of the Apartheid government was the destruction of Sophiatown. A legendary black cultural hub and one of the last areas of black home-ownership, in February 1955 the town was razed by bulldozers and 2,000 police, bearing rifles and batons, enforced the eviction of some 65,000 residents. Then, in arrogance and blatant contempt for the crime they had just committed, they renamed the town Triomf (Africaans for triumph).


Fifty years later, Sophiatown’s name was restored. But far from regaining the vibrant spirit for which it was known in the past, the town is plagued with crime and rampant drug abuse.

For every dollar spent on prevention, at least ten can be saved in future health, social and crime costs.

Now a group of volunteers from the South Africa chapter of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World have launched a campaign to bring Sophiatown back to life. They are working to restore its pride by addressing the primary source of the town’s degradation—drugs.

Foundation for a Drug-Free World volunteers marched from Bosmont to the Sophiatown Police station, handing out copies of The Truth About Drugs booklets all along the way.

A few miles away at a local recreation center another Drug-Free World team held a drug education lecture for a group of youngsters who then joined the volunteers in a march against drugs through their community.

These volunteers are committed to reaching youth before the dealers do, helping them make the informed and self-determined decision to live drug-free.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, for every dollar spent on prevention, at least ten can be saved in future health, social and crime costs.

The Church of Scientology supports the Foundation for a Drug-Free World and makes its drug education materials available free of charge to educators, community and religious leaders and all who work to provide others with the help they need to decide to live drug-free.

The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.

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