My Amazing Life: From Pollsmoor to a Pastor - Ronald Abels shares his story
- Ronald Abels' mother was raped and he was conceived as a result
- He grew up to become a feared gang member in Lavender Hill
- He's since given up his criminal past to become a community leader and founder of the Future Hope Project
As a small boy growing up in Capricorn, Ronald Abels wanted to be a policeman.
But by the time he was 15, he'd already committed his first armed robbery.
From there he entered into a life of crime and drugs, becoming a notorious and feared gangster in Lavender Hill.
Fast forward several years later, he's put his criminal past behind him to become a married father of four, a pastor, youth worker, and the founder of the Future Hope Project.
But it's been a difficult journey for Abels, who also had to come to terms with the truth about who his father is.
My mom was sexually assaulted, and as a result of that rape, I was conceived. That already brought a lot of trouble into my life.Ronald Abels - Founder of the Future Hope Project
She wanted to commit abortion twice during her pregnancy, but at the end, I prevailed. I was born.Ronald Abels - Founder of the Future Hope Project
I always had this question mark, who is my dad. It was my question throughout my whole life, who's my dad. And she could never tell the story.Ronald Abels - Founder of the Future Hope Project
Abel's youth was characterised by violence, drug abuse and crime as he tried to find a place where he was accepted.
I really wanted to belong to something bigger than myself. I wanted to belong to a family and that's why I started hanging out with gangsters. I really wanted to be accepted.Ronald Abels - Founder of the Future Hope Project
His life today is completely different to the life he led during his youth.
It's not just a recovery from drugs, it's a recovery from your life. Sometimes we're just victims of the circumstances of life, and we play along. The system's against me.Ronald Abels - Founder of the Future Hope Project
I'm not just a recovered drug addict, I'm a human being. I deserve better for my life. I deserve more than life gives me, or the hand I was dealt. I rearranged my cards and I try to get the best out of it at all times.Ronald Abels - Founder of the Future Hope Project
Scroll to the top of the article to listen to the interview.
Source : Bertram Malgas/EWN