MMI Holdings celebrates its team member’s contributions to their local communities through a widespread staff volunteerism programme, called the Lesedi Awards.
Mesuli Khumalo is a recovering drug and alcohol abuser, but that is not his story. What he has overcome, despite all odds, and gone on to achieve, is where his real story lies.
Mesuli was nominated in the coveted Lesedi Volunteer Awards Individual Category. The ceremony, held in November last year, celebrated the outstanding efforts of MMI volunteers. Mesuli was nominated for his work at the Silkworth Recovery and Care Centre (SRC). The centre is located in the Dukathole informal settlement, in Germiston, Gauteng, and is one of several organisations that work tirelessly to combat the scourge of substance abuse. Not only is this overwhelming abuse placing a huge burden on the economy and the taxpayer, but more importantly, on the individual’s family and local networks.
Volunteering is deeply personal for Mesuli, who has made it his purpose to reach out and help those who are suffering from the illness of addiction. “I have been clean and sober for six years, which has given me enough experience and knowledge to pass on the message of hope to those who are still suffering alcoholics. Until you have walked the road of addiction it is incredibly difficult to understand,” he says.
Mesuli’s role at the SRC is that of mentor to the youth from the informal settlements. He also participates in public information services. Providing critical emotional support for people with addiction is his way of paying forward the gift passed to him from a longstanding member of a support group.
“Because of the support I got from this person, I’m alive today and part of society again,” says Mesuli.
Now, himself a sponsor to other substance abusers and addicts, Mesuli has meetings with them two to three times a week. On Wednesdays, he rushes out of the office to pick up some of the youngsters he takes to meetings; an opportunity for them all to be in an environment where people share their struggles, their strength and their ongoing hope. He often meets them at weekends, and they communicate on WhatsApp regularly when times get tough.
What makes Mesuli most proud is being a living example of recovery and a responsible father to a seven-year-old boy, who he makes sure, knows about the dangers of alcohol and drugs.
Mesuli takes care to THINK before he says anything to the people he supports, knowing how hard the road of recovery can be; no judgment and no giving up on anyone who might have a relapse.
“I was taught to use the acronym THINK, before I speak: (T)rue (H)elpful (I)nspiring (N)ecessary (K)ind.
“I have learnt that addiction is an illness and drugs and alcohol take the place of ease and comfort. The message we are trying to push is that there is hope for those stuck in the downward spiral of addiction,” he says. Mesuli also serves as executive member of the SRC board, which meets once a month.
Charlene Lackay, head of CSI at MMI says, “As a company we are committed to the communities in which we operate, our colleagues do wonderful work that actually impacts the people in their extended networks. Through the Lesedi Awards, we are able to recognise these outstanding achievements in civic responsibility.”
For more information about the Silkworth Recovery and Care Centre visit