Beauty shines behind bars

2017-04-05 10:21
It was an emotional moment for Martha Phepeng (26) when she was crowned Miss Kimberley Correctional Centre during their beauty pageant on Thursday (30/03).Photos: Boipelo Mere

It was an emotional moment for Martha Phepeng (26) when she was crowned Miss Kimberley Correctional Centre during their beauty pageant on Thursday (30/03).Photos: Boipelo Mere

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Life in prison was recently seen in a positive light, as it was credited for helping incarcerated women to believe in themselves again.

The Miss Kimberley Correctional Centre beauty pageant was held at this centre.

The event was aimed at boosting the confidence of the female inmates and reminding them of their inner beauty.

The audience was fellow female prisoners, juvenile prisoners and correctional officials.

The female inmates gave almost similar responses when they were given the opportunity to proudly strut their stuff during the beauty pageant held on Thursday (30/03).

They all had the opportunity of responding to the question: “Is there life after prison?”

Martha Phepeng (26), who was crowned Miss Kimberley Correctional Centre, shed tears of joy when she was announced as the winner.

After the announcement, she received the belt and crown designed by fellow inmates.

She said her confidence has been boosted for when she will walk into society upon her release in 2018.

“I did not expect this at all. This was indeed an indication that life begins in prison after all.

“I have never seen myself as model material,” said the 26-year-old from Koffiefontein.

She proudly added that since she was incarcerated in 2014, she has learnt the art of appreciation, acceptance and humanity.

The first princess, Yvette Reynecke (29), said the win made her consider a career in beauty.

“I learnt a lot in prison in the past three years.

“I believe I am ready to take on the world upon my release in six months’ time.

“It is not nice being here, but it is a good place to learn from one’s mistakes,” said Reynecke.

The second princess, Christelle van der Westhuizen (29), said that she was very proud of herself.

“It is all thanks to our prison mothers for allowing us to do this.

“It is evident that the opportunity gave us confidence for the future when we step out of here.”

She is hoping that the event will continue to be hosted annually, as it has the potential to build inmates’ self-esteem.

“I have been in here for 11 months and believe me, it can get to you, including your family.”

According to Boitumelo Makgari, the unit manager, apart from the top three awards, the other seven were also given tokens of appreciation for competing in the pageant.

“This was our very first beauty pageant and we are planning to host it annually,” she said.

  • Amongst the outstanding responses given by the contestants in answering the question “Is there life after prison?” were: Irrespective of the number of years that you will be spending here, there is still a sense of purpose you have to fulfill in doing good.) Prison is able to make a life for everyone.) Life started the day I woke up inside these walls.) Prison prepares you for life after you leave here.) You are the architect of your own destination.
  • The day when you walk out of here is the immediate beginning of your life.) I came here through a mistake that I made. Prison made me a good person and I am ready to be that good person when I leave here.
  • It depends on whether you are independent to make responsible choices.
  • Be ready to stand up for yourself.

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