Substance Abuse Certificate Ceremony Speech | Western Cape Government

22Covid-19 Alerts

COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Dashboard

View Vaccine information

TB Information and Dashboard

View TB information


Substance Abuse Certificate Ceremony Speech

7 June 2019

Good Morning All,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

And most importantly, our soon to be graduates of this programme,

It is such a tremendous pleasure to be invited to speak at your graduation ceremony today. It truly does bring joy to my heart, to be able to see so many people taking up the opportunity to complete further skills and development training in the area of substance abuse.

In saying this, i’m sure that at some point, each and every single one of our lives here today has been affected, whether directly or indirectly, by substance abuse.

As one gives, so one receives…

You all probably know the little secret I’m about to share with you right now, for it is most likely the reason why you all here today…  “That true joy in life comes from those who live a life of service.” This means being of service to others in whatever way fits your lifestyle. Whether its donating time to the homeless, or assisting in your community as a mentor; it’s as important to US as to those we may and continue to serve. Contribution beyond ourselves is what keeps our life in check, where we establish a good foundation to build our successes upon. When we just take from the world we live in and choose not to contribute to it, it keeps us in a state of surviving no matter how much you have or how much money you make. We never end up feeling truly fulfilled.

The role we play in our communities should never be down played. After all, never have we needed to be more resilient.

The task we have on our hands is indeed difficult however, it is not an impossible one.

When families are not fully able to cope on their own, the community can be a key source of support. Neighbours, friends, elders, teachers, community leaders working together and linking with government can form an all-encompassing care and support network that can promote the healthy development of children, strong families and safe communities.

However, the importance of this type of work often goes unrecognized. The role of those such as child protection workers, child welfare committee members, volunteer children’s officers, para social workers and child and youth care workers is often unclear, misunderstood, taken for granted and/or underfunded. In many cases training programs can be brief and disconnected to a broader strategy of development within a given country. Supervision and support is often lacking.

The Western Cape Government is truly grateful that this programme/project can continue to ensure that quality capacity building training is available for members of our communities across the Province.

We remain well aware of how substance abuse is breaking down many of our communities homes. The Western Cape Province has the highest substance abuse rates, with ‘tik’ and alcohol being the highest.  

Substance abuse is a specialist field that needs specially trained professionals in order to provide the wide range of services so desperately needed in our Province.

Given the ongoing violence against woman and children, it has become even more urgent for government to support substance abuse interventions being offered.

I personally believe that with collaborative efforts between government, academic institutions, community workers and members of the community, we can win the fight against alcohol and drug abuse.

Many people, including myself, have struggled with ‘being of service’ because the word “service” usually has a negative connotation. It’s attached to ‘negative’ references such as servitude or slavery which means having to serve someone else who’s above us. As Deepak Chopra says, “no one is beneath you and you are beneath no one.”

I think it would help if we step back for a moment and get to the ‘root of why’ we want to be of service and what it means to us. Is it to receive accolades and awards for a job well done? Is it to receive approval from others? Or, is it because we want to do something for the sake of doing it without any strings attached? We genuinely want to help and give back or in the case of a business, we know we have a product/service that will truly help people.

Community workers like doctors, teachers, and many other professions, require a devotion to selflessness that deserves to be celebrated.

And today graduates, is your day… I thank you and I salute you!

I would like to further thank the University of the Western Cape,

The facilitators of each course,

The Community Engagement unit

When we walk out here later today, let’s not forget, A life of service, is a life lived well

Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez

Western Cape Government

14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8001


Direct Tel: (+27) 21 483 9217

Fax: 086 641 0955

Mobile: (+27) 83 661 4949