My father's beating could not change me
Moving away from his parents to live with his grandmother at the age of 15 exposed Prince to bad habits that he battled to break free of, even after he came to the church.
When his grandfather passed on, Prince had to help his grandmother with her house chores.
"I took advantage of staying with my grandmother who was too old to notice what I did when I was out with my friends. I hung around with people who smoked cigarettes and dagga. I joined in and stopped helping my grandmother with the house chores," said Prince.
His bad habits affected his performance at school and he eventually failed grade 10. "I did not do my homework. I bunked classes and spent my days at a park where I smoked with my friends. I neglected my school work and I failed," he said.
The following year Prince moved back to live with his parents after his grandmother caught him smoking and reported him to them.
"I lived under strict conditions after my parents were told about my smoking habit. They stopped giving me pocket money and I started selling dagga at school in order to feed my addiction. I also started drinking because I was able to finance my lifestyle. My father would beat me up each time I came home late at night, but that did not stop me," said Prince.
His parents, who were already members of the Universal Church, kept praying for Prince to change.
"My mother invited me to go to church with her. I only accepted because I did not want to disappoint her. I continued drinking and smoking dagga because I was not committed to God. I sometimes smoked inside the church's toilets. I lost interest in my studies and dropped out in my matric year," said Prince.
In 2017, he decided to commit himself to God because he wanted his life to change. He started attending church services every day and stayed away from bad friends.
"I saw how other young men were happy without the need for dagga, and I wanted to be like them. I joined the youth group of the church and made new friends who shared the same faith. I surrendered my life to God and allowed Him to work in my life. After two weeks, I was able to stop smoking and drinking, something that I battled with for many years. I understood that my father corrected me because he wanted me to become a better man. I was able to gain my parents’ trust and my father started giving me pocket money again. I now set aside time to read my Bible and the books of the church in order to feed my spiritual life. I am not only faithful to my family, but especially to God with my life. I use my testimony to inspire other young people not to fall into the trap of substance abuse," said Prince.