By Andre Viljoen
[notice]Rap song and real-life testimony
changing lives in notorious gangland area[/notice]
A Port Elizabeth Northern areas teenage rapper and his mother have become local heroes in troubled Helenvale after they visited 10 local schools with a powerful message that “genoeg is genoeg” (enough is enough).
Jean-Mikyle Roos, 16, who penned the poignant “Genoeg is genoeg” rap song, and his mother Patricia Arnold, accompanied police and church representatives in a week-long school visit campaign aimed at encouraging learners to participate in a high-profile talent contest sponsored by Victory Ministries International (VMI). Jean, a Grade 10 learner at Andrew Rabie High School, had special permission from his school to participate in the school visits.
Patricia told the school children how she was raped at the age of 12 and became addicited to drugs thereafter until she became a follower of Jesus Christ in 2003, by which time she was popping 40 tablets a day. Jean rapped about it being time to have done with hunger, hopelesness, murder, drugs, gangs and jail.
“It had a great impact on the children because it spoke about their lives. They were excited and sang the chorus while I rapped. And while my mom spoke they listened attentively: I could see that some of them had been through what she shared,” said Jean. Many of the children responded to invitations to share their problems with Patricia and were now undergoing counselling for rape, sexual abuse and other serious problems.
Jean said he had become a Christian himself six years ago after he saw the huge difference that Jesus had made in his mother’s life.
On Saturday, Jean performed his signature rap song on a specially erected stage in front of a crowd of 3 000 people who gathered in a local park to attend VMI’s Helenvale Peace Initiative talent show. Asked how he felt facing the crowd, Jean said: “Like I was Jacob Zuma. I never expected such a crowd. I felt very nervous at first but when I started rapping I was fine.”
Jean said many Helenvale schoolchildren who attended were visibly moved by the day’s events which showed them that there was more to aim at in life than becoming a gangster. He said he noticed a number of “big gangsters” in the audience and could see that they too were touched. He said police reported that in stark contrast to the norm, no crimes were recorded in the area that Saturday.
In a future edition of Gateway News we will post a video clip of Jean performing his famous rap and we will publish the words, which include the following chorus line:
Genoeg is genoeg, kom ons almal staan saam
Daas baie wat se Helenvale vergaan
So kom ons maak vrede vergeet die verlede
en maak ‘n verskil in mekaar se lewe.
Jean’s father, Fabian Arnold, who said he had also been a drug and alcohol abuser before he became a Christian, said he was very proud of what Jean and Patricia had achieved. As a staff member of VMI he was actively involved in the church’s work to uplift the area.
In an interview today, the leader of VMI, Pastor Jerome Liberty, said the church had invested R100 000 in the talent show which was part of its commitment to uplift Helenvale and to tackle the stronghold of drugs in the area.
“I attended two schools in Helenvale in my youth. They were good schools then,” said Liberty. He said in recent times druglords had infiltrated schools and exercised control of many households through various forms of manipulation. Two weeks ago a 12-year-old boy shot another child in a drug related incident which had become typical for the area.
In addition to the Helenvale Peace Initative which was offering positive alternatives to children, VMI was tackling the drug problem by producing a drug awareness DVD. A team of 17 people including former addicts, churchmen, legal professionals and teachers were collaborating on the DVD which would deal with knowledge about the different types of drugs on the streets, how to identify warning signs of drug problems, and how to deal with problems. The project was undertaken after consultation with local school principals.
In a related anti-cirme and upliftment initiative the Helenvale Upliftment Forum (HUF) is organising a mass prayer march in Helenvale on Saturday March 5. The HUF hopes that 1 000 people will participate in the prayer march during which every street in Helenvale will be anointed with oil. Christians throughout Port Elizabeth are urged to support the march and can contact HUF spokesman Pastor Tyrone Strydom at 082 851 6933 for more information. The HUF has also called on Christians to fast and pray in support of the Helenvale initiative on Thursdays. SA Police Services Mount Road Cluster Commander General Dawie Rabie who will participate in the prayer event, said prayer marching in crime hotspots in 2009 had led to an 80% drop in crime. He believed that Helenvale could be rescued through prayer and other Christian initiatives in a first step to take the city and the region for Jesus.