Farrarmere resident Veronica Tift took the opportunity to meet author Shani Krebs and get a signed copy of his book.
A former drug mule who was sentenced to 100 years in a Thailand jail was the guest speaker at the Pages and Wine evening at Nkanga Lodge, Bredell, on March 14.
In 1994, at the age of 34, Shani Krebs was caught carrying 2.2kg of heroin when he attempted to leave the airport in Thailand. Today, Krebs is a motivational speaker, artist and author. He was initially sentenced to death but after pleading guilty to drug trafficking, the conviction was converted to 100 years imprisonment.
Pages and Wine guests were initiated into his enthralling ordeal through a video clip showing the conditions in the Bang Kwang Central Prison where Krebs was jailed.
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“I started smoking marijuana in Grade 12. I already knew I had an addictive personality,” he said.
“By 1993 I was a freebase cocaine addict, I was getting regularly seizures and my family gave me an ultimatum – either I stop using drugs or I leave.
“They even offered to take me on holiday but I decided to go to Thailand after my drug dealer spoke to me about smuggling drugs.
“I thought I could go on holiday and get drugs at the same time,” Krebs said.
He explained when he arrived in Bangkok it had an “evil undertone” and he became extremely paranoid, feeling he was being watched all the time.
This transpired to be true when he was caught at the airport.
Bang Kwang Central Prison, he explained, was only meant to house 4 000 inmates but 7 000 were incarcerated there at the time.
Krebs finally had his sentence reduced to 18 years and was released from prison in April 2012.
He had stopped using drugs by 1995 and turned to art as a way to escape his reality in prison.
Krebs sent letters to his sister, the content of which he knew would be the basis of a book he wanted to write about his experiences in prison.
The book eventually materialised.
Dragons and Butterflies took Krebs a year to write after he was released and is an autobiography which details his 18 years in jail.
He also later started presenting talks at school and rehab centres to warn people against the use of drugs and their negative impact.
After his talk at Pages and Wine, guests could buy a signed copy of the book.
The evening ended with exciting giveaways of prizes including wine, accommodation, a diamond necklace, a Benoni City Times advertising package and a Get it East Rand advertising package, both sponsored by Caxton Local Media.
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