By NTU News reporter
Dance, drug crime, dog rescue and discipline. This unlikely sounding combination are the key elements of the work of Mdantsane community worker Ben Rexana to help young people stay out of trouble.
Rexana has run a community development called DyFaDance Community Development since 2008 to help keep kids off the streets and avoid drugs, crime, abuse and bullying.
Along the way he started looking after stray dogs and now he involves young people in the programme to help feed and care for the animals.
There were no such programmes when he was growing up in NU9.
“The reason I got motivated to run it was most kids end up being criminals and do drugs, I saw it from my friends. I believe if my friends grew up in program’s like the one I’m doing they wouldn’t end up in jail or some dead,” he said.
After finishing Philemon Ngcelwane High school, Rexana became a paramedic, but soon realised it wasn’t his calling.
“I saw it’s not my passion, I don’t feel what I’m doing. I had to make a very tough decision of my life help the kids,” he said.
This year Rexana brought rescuing street dogs into the programme. He wants to teach children to look after and respect animals from a young age.
Through Facebook he has teamed up with other animal lovers and animal rescue organisations Buckaroo, Hilltop Animal Rescue and the SPCA to help sick and injured animals and find them good homes.
The lessons Rexana teaches the children about dogs are:
Love all dogs
Don’t kick a dog
Keep your dog happy all times it will protect you
It must have food and water
Feed it dog food as it’s good for them and their fur, skin and general health
Report when you see someone abusing a dog or if you see a dog in danger
Also teach them about sicknesses of dogs like worms, biliary, rabies, distemper, parvovirus and what to do.
“I grew up loving dogs, even from young age we had dogs at home. I always wanted to help dogs, I can’t stand seeing one suffering it breaks my heart. My goal is I just wanna help many kids as I can and dogs,” said Rexana.
In five years he sees himself owning his own dance studio with a building big enough to include a dog rescue facility to save as many dogs as he can.
“My mantra is I say to no drugs, abuse, rape, bullying and crime,” Rexana.