Lead SALead SA

Reformed drug addict turned to art to mentor Mitchells Plain youth

Written by: Qama Qukula

Mark Jeneker has been honoured as the August LeadSA Hero for his work uplifting youth in the Mitchells Plain community.

Mark had a difficult childhood and was exposed to gangsterism, violence and drugs at a very young age.

But five years ago he decided to turn his life around after serving time in prison and suffering from drug addiction.

Mark started off volunteering at the Mitchells Plain library, teaching kids about arts and crafts and inspiring them to pursue their talents.

His artwork can be seen on exhibit at the library and he now hosts voluntary art classes at the Yellowwood Primary School.

He says he was always a creative child but, growing up in Hanover Park, he did not have any positive role models to mentor him.

Both of my brothers and my childhood friends belonged to gangs and committed crimes. I was drawn into the life... It seemed to pay off, until I was arrested for armed robbery.

Mark Jeneker, LeadSA Hero for August

Mark says that he has used his natural artistic ability to motivate and support vulnerable children in the community to steer away from negative influences.

Listen to the full conversation from CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:



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