Workshop shows life can be fruitful after prison

2017-02-14 10:34
Basil Mthethwa who runs his own clothing business shows his wares outside the city hall after attending the Msunduzi municipality ex-offenders workshop on Monday.

Basil Mthethwa who runs his own clothing business shows his wares outside the city hall after attending the Msunduzi municipality ex-offenders workshop on Monday. (Omega Moagi)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ex-offenders should never lose hope because although there are challenges, success and a fruitful life after prison are possible.

This was the overriding message conveyed at the Msunduzi Municipality’s ex-offenders workshop at City Hall on Monday.

The event, attended by various government departments, officers from Correctional Services, the office of the mayor and numerous ex-offenders from the district, featured various speakers who grappled with issues facing ex-offenders.

An ex-offender who runs his own clothing business, Basil Mthethwa, who said he was once jailed for hijacking, shared his story of how in a twisted turn of events he also became a victim of the same crime when he first started his business.

“When I first started out, a car that was carrying my stock was hijacked and I lost everything.

“I had borrowed the money get the material from a loan shark because I knew I would be able to raise it once the business picked up.

“The loan shark paid me a visit soon after the incident and because I could not give him the money, he took all my sewing machines and other equipment away with him, leading to the collapse of my entire business,” said an emotional Mthethwa.

Mthwethwa thanked Mazo Ngubane who has volunteered to assist him get his business back after his challenging start and encouraged other ex-offenders to persevere and not return to crime.

Ex-offenders who spoke at the event said apart from a criminal record, the stigma attached to ex-offenders posed the biggest challenge for them upon their return to the outside world.

“In prison we acquire many skills and trades. Some people even graduate in their matric and other courses. When we re-emerge into society we should be able to turn these skills into businesses and successful careers but the stigma attached to ex-offenders makes this very difficult,” said Tholakele Mkhize, an ex-offender who runs a sewing and beading company.

“We urge the Pietermaritzburg community to support ex-offenders and not judge them,” said Mkhize.

Another ex-offender, Sifiso Moloi, cautioned against the glorification of crime, prison life and gangsterism by ex-offenders.

“Jail is not something one can be proud of,” said Moloi.

“I do a lot of work with young people and a permeating issue is that prison gangsterism is glorified among school children in local schools.

“Let us stop killing young minds by encouraging a life of crime amongst our youth,” said Moloi.

Siphamandla Khumalo from Msunduzi said the workshop’s aim was to share experiences and ideas on what can be done to defeat inequality, poverty and unemployment among ex-offenders.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Partner Content
How data is changing investments

Technological disruption is rife in many spheres of business and given the quantity of data available, it’s no surprise that the way in which asset managers work is also changing fast.

Behind the sparkle

Alluring, beautiful and timeless - diamonds are some of the most sought after gems in the world and are a true testament of everlasting brilliance. Let us take you behind the sparkle to show you the history behind this coveted jewel.


How to get rid of fleas

Before you call in the pricey exterminators, try this DIY approach that promises to get your flea problem under control.



12 Cool cat facts
Chocolate can be fatal for dogs
Spider-man star's adorable relationship with his dog
Do you know what you are feeding your dog?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.