Reformed Ocean View drug addict conquers uphill battle to graduate at 61
A former Ocean View drug addict who turned his life around has recently graduated with a diploma in teaching at the age of 61.
Abduragiem De Klerk was a highschool dropout who battled with substance abuse since he was a teen. He's been clean for 16 years and is now a qualified educator.
It's not something I gladly speak about but, like my family tells me, it's a story that needs to be told. It might change or wake up someone else.Abduraghiem de Klerk
Trying to fit in with the cool cats, doing what they do, I got caught in this drug web.Abduraghiem de Klerk
De Klerk currently works as a caretaker at a local school.
In his spare time, he helps youngsters in his community steer clear of drugs through his cycling group, Fresh Start Cycling Club.
He says cycling saved his life and exposed him to the kindness and humanity of others.
Quitting the drugs happened because I got on the bicycle at the age of 45.Abduraghiem de Klerk
The amazing thing about cycling is that I had people pushing me that I don't even know. It's inspiring to think that complete strangers would do that for you.Abduraghiem de Klerk
He's now qualified to teach technology and maths at mainstream schools but hopes to teach a skilled trade at a TVET college.
Although he is celebrating his triumph, De Klerk explains that the journey was not easy.
He was unemployed for many years and at some point did odd jobs, such as gardenwork, bricklaying, painting and rubble removal, to make a living.
In 2010, he became a school caretaker and in 2013 he decided to go back to school to complete his matric.
Thereafter, he pursued his diploma in teaching.
De Klerk's wife, Sageda, is proud of her husband's achievements and how he has conquered the obstacles in his life.
She's been there for him through it all and says her family is stronger for it. Sageda wrote a widely-shared post celebrating her husband's moving story on the #ImStaying Facebook group.
I'm very proud. It's taken years - dark years - to get off the drugs. I helped him, stood by him, encouraged him. I just never gave up.Sageda De Klerk
I proudly stood by and watched the changes on my children's faces.Sageda De Klerk
Listen to the inspiring, in-depth discussion on Tonight with Lester:
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