KAGO KOMANE and QUEEN MOSARWE
Twenty eight year-old Patrick Mosa* started experimenting with crack cocaine (or ‘ma-dyna’ as it is called Gaborone) when he was still at university.
It was there, seven years ago, that he now recalls he made the biggest mistake of his life: “I started doing drugs with my best friend…We would go out during weekends to get marijuana until one day I visited friends and found that they had advanced to using ma-dyna, that was in 2011.” he said.
So, from learning about it, Mosa developed enough curiosity about ma-dyana, “My friends took me to some guy who was selling it. The very day I smoked ma-dyna was the day I made my biggest mistake in life because once you taste it you are in it forever. You can never get satisfied smoking it. The more you smoke cocaine the more you develop a need to smoke more. Immediately when you have the first puff, it pulls you in and all you want is to do more of it. From there I became fully focused on cocaine and I stopped using marijuana all together.”
Before he got addicted to cocaine, Mosa worked a well paying job in Gaborone thanks to a degree which allowed in him to get lucrative opportunities. Back then, the world was his oyster and he lived like a king. Now as an addict, the priority to get a “fix” feels like the most important decision he has to make in his life:
“Back then I could easily spend around seven thousand in a week with my friends because I could afford it. You easily get broke when you are using cocaine because it is very expensive. A piece the size of a head of a match stick is P100. It is not easy to calculate how much cocaine you can smoke in a day especially for an addict because you have to smoke until you do not have any money to buy anymore,” he said.
At the height of his addiction, Mosa sold his house in Gaborone for a song: P500 000, money which he snuffed in just two weeks. Before he got addicted this badly, Mosa says he used to buy a few pieces at a time from a drug lord he was introduced to but his addiction outstripped his prudence: “When you smoke cocaine, you don’t have time to do anything normal people do, you can go days without eating or sleeping just smoking and getting high until you are broke.” he revealed.
From selling his house, Mosa became so downtrodden that he started selling household valuables until he was only left with the clothes he was wearing. In the end he was left with no other choice but to succumb to every helpless addict’s last resort- moving into a crack house where he effectively became a house slave. “The house is rented especially for selling drugs, so it does not have normal domestic workers. It is up to addicts who no longer have any money like me to live there in the hope that they will be rewarded with drugs.”
According to Mosa, lives of hopeless drug addicts are at the mercy of the drug lord; he gives them ‘dust’ (crumbs) from moon ( a portion of the crack) cuttings as and when he feels like giving, “We are servants of the drug lord; he calls the shots and all that we do is to obey so we can at least be given lerolenyana la madyana to feel better.” You become a crack house zombie, he says.
Those who have bodies they can trade for sex, like young girls, give themselves to rich guys so they can get money to by themselves a fix. Such is the addiction of cocaine which Mosa says is so “Nice” that one will do anything for it. Cocaine is particularly enjoyable when it is smoked in quiet places, he says. That is because it induces paranoia when smoked in noisy places: “If you hear voices you will keep checking windows and everything to make sure nobody knows what you are doing. Crack houses or hotel rooms are the safest and quite places to smoke crack.”
In themselves, crack houses have water-tight security because there is always someone on guard at the gate to vet intruders. Access is by permission only and there are VIP rooms reserved for rich people who deserve the royal treatment.
Addicts like Mosa are often subjected to strict and brutal disciplinary measures if they put one foot wrong: “The drug lord who owns the crack house I stay at is very strict and ruthless, he beats you to a pulp and he has commandments that no one is allowed to break,” he revealed. But addiction is a strong thing, like all mortal sins it always sets addicts on a perilous path to temptation, and this temptation always causes them to break set commandments.
Once when he was suspected of breaking his drug lord’s commandment, Mosa says he was taken to a torture house, “I was placed in the garage, my left leg chained and tied to a pole while being brutally beaten. I stayed for three days without food.”
Besides himself, Mosa has witnessed other people being stripped of their dignity by cocaine addiction. The girlfriend of an addicted man, from being deeply addicted herself, resorted to prostitution to source money. When the man tried to stop her initially, Mosa says, the girlfriend told him point blank that she was putting herself on the line support both their addictions. “This is because drugs are so enjoyable that you can sacrifice even your partner for them. It is sad yes, but nothing beats the pleasure of drugs,” he conceded.
Mosa has now been reduced to a scruffy fidgeting sub-human who is clearly going a through terrible withdrawal phase. He yawns; he scratches himself all over the body. When asked about the last time he took a bath, he answered, “The day before yesterday and as for eating, I ate last night.” Mosa says he is now used to eating once every three days: not because he has a problem getting food, creating time to eat is a big inconvenience for a person who is addicted to cocaine. “The only time that matters is of getting a fix. That is why most drug addicts are very skinny,” he said.
The tragedy with Mosa is that he admits that he is an addict who needs rehabilitation, but when these reporters raised the benefits rehabilitation and the need to reset his life, he said,“ Not now, maybe in May. I have certain things that I still want to take care of. Maybe from then I can think about it.”
Asked if he had any regrets considering how his life panned out, Mosa said the world of addiction does not leave much room for regrets; it is a world where the ultimate goal is to get a fix and nothing matters more than that. “I know a guy who went through that. He couldn’t stop smoking because he had a lot of money so he just smoked to his death. You can go five days without eating and still have no appetite because getting high at that point is the only priority,” he said.
NB: * The name of the source has been withheld to protect his identity. Patrick Mosa is a given pseudo name.