‘Something my mother will be proud of’ for top matric achiever in Durban-Westville Correctional Services Centre

2012-01-06 00:00

“AT last I got something that my mother will be proud of after disappointing her for so many years.”

These were sad words from an excited Durban-Westville Correctional Services offender Nqubeko Sunset Malembe of Inanda who was the prison’s top 2011 matric student.

Malembe (22), who has been jailed since 2008 for rape, received two As, two Bs, two Cs and one D after writing matric at the prison’s Usethubeni (you still have a chance) School.

The school caters for about 236 medium offenders (prisoners serving sentences of 10 years and less) between the ages of 18 and 21. They study courses that range from Abet (adult basic education and training) level 1 to matric.

School principal Dominic Zulu, said they allowed offenders over 21 to continue their studies provided they had been part of the school’s learning programme prior to being above the age limit.

The ecstatic Malembe, the youngest in a family of seven, said he hoped his mother, Ntombi Malembe, would be proud of his achievement “after I had disappointed her by associating with bad friends which landed me here in prison.”

Malembe now wants to study for a civil engineering degree at university, but his wish might not be achieved because of financial constraints.

“I lost my father last year when I was already in prison and I could not even bury him. My mother is a pensioner and no one can help me financially to pursue my studies.

“As a civil engineer I was hoping that I could contribute towards infrastructural development of my area,” Malembe said.

Speaking to The Witness from Inanda, Ntombi Malembe said Nqubeko was the first of her three sons to get a matric.

“Before his arrest he was doing very well at school and I am excited that at least he now has matric, but unfortunately I cannot help him pursue his dream,” Malembe senior said.

Acting regional commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), Andile Mdletshe, said the department was very proud of the Usethubeni offenders who attained an 83% pass rate.

Last year they achieved a 97% pass rate.

Zulu said the school has produced a number of students who went on to obtain degrees.

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