Original Research

Exploring the perspectives of community members on use of Nyaope in Tshwane, South Africa

Doudou K. Nzaumvila, Robert Mash, Toby Helliwell
South African Family Practice | Vol 65, No 1 : Part 4| a5715 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v65i1.5715 | © 2023 Doudou Kunda Nzaumvila, Robert Mash, Toby Helliwell | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 January 2023 | Published: 28 September 2023

About the author(s)

Doudou K. Nzaumvila, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria; Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Robert Mash, Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Toby Helliwell, Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, Keele University, London, United Kingdom


Background: Substance use is a major public health issue in South Africa. Cocktails, containing two or more low-quality substances, have been reported. Nyaope is one of the most popular and is widely available. It has a significant impact on users and communities. The aim of this study was to explore community members’ perceptions of the potential contributors to Nyaope use and dependency.

Methods: This was an exploratory descriptive qualitative study that conducted three focus group interviews with 29 community members. A maximum variation sample was used. Data were analysed using the framework method, assisted by Atlas-ti.

Results: Seven main themes were identified, namely unfavourable home environments, distrust between community members and the local police, easy access to Nyaope at school, inadequate social services, lack of religious or spiritual drive, unfavourable community environments and the effects of Nyaope on users.

Conclusion: The factors identified, were used to construct an emerging model of how Nyaope use is driven in Tshwane. It is clear that a multisectoral response is required involving health and social services, basic education, policing and community leadership. Further research will explore the views of family members and users and quantify the importance of the factors identified.

Contribution: This study showed that rather than a simple linear chain of events, Nyaope use is enabled by a complex system of interconnected elements. According to the respondents, variables in the community at large, the school, the home and the specific user all have a role in Nyaope usage and dependency.


community members; Nyaope use; substance abuse, addiction, dependency, Nyaope, community, community engagement


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