Ricochet News

Former drug addict, Shani Krebs, warns Port Elizabeth youth about the dangers of drugs

By Jesica Slabbert - Apr 24, 2018
Former drug addict, Shani Krebs, warns Port Elizabeth youth about the dangers of drugs

After his own terrifying ordeal in the drug trade in his youth, South African author, Shani Krebs, has taken it upon himself to warn the youth of South Africa about the unknown terrors involved in the drug trade, and how much drugs and drug abuse can truly mess with one’s life.

Shani Krebs held a talk at the Alexander Road High School in Port Elizabeth on the 17th of April, where parents and students alike came to hear him speak about his exposure to the drug trade and the consequence of being thrown in one of the worst prisons in the world because of his involvement.

“People, especially kids, have to understand the dangers and the consequences of drugs and the drug trade, as well as drug addiction,” said Shani.

During his early years, Shani spent his time in Johannesburg with his family and began taking drugs while still in school.

Despite his parent’s attempts at getting him to stop and making him go to rehabilitation centres, he simply had no desire to get clean.

His experimentation in this direction led to alcohol abuse, promiscuity, many wild parties - and, eventually, drug dealing.

It was in 1994, at the age of 34, where his life would take an even more drastic turn for the worst.

Tempted to try drug dealing for himself in a foreign land, Shani ventured to Thailand to assist with a drug trade operation.

However things did not go as planned, when he arrived at the airport to leave with his supply as he was surrounded by police and promptly arrested for carrying 2.2 kg of heroin.

He was handed the death sentence - which is not unusual since Thailand is very strict when it comes to drugs, but his sentence was later commuted to 100 years.

Time in jail offered him an opportunity to reflect on what he had done. Before getting caught, he had felt invincible as he had been getting away with it for 16 years.

Shani described the harrowing conditions of the Bang Kwang Central Prison, also known as the ‘Bangkok Hilton’ by the inmates. The cells were so cramped, there was no place one could rest and the sights and smells only added to the terror.

There were times when he was placed in solitary confinement for fighting with other inmates and be stuck there for days on end.

He said that his time in prison forced him to take a whole new perspective on life. He quit drugs completely while in prison, and started practising art as an escape and attempt to find more meaning to his life.

Miraculously, his sentence was reduced to 18 years, and in 2012 he returned home to South Africa where he was met by his family and friends.

When he arrived home, he started working on a book about his life and time in prison ‘Dragons and Butterflies’.

“I am often asked if I have any regrets in life, and this has been my journey so I can’t say I regret anything I have done. But if I did have the opportunity to live my life all over, I would definitely do it without drugs.”