Rehabilitation programme puts inmates in the boxing ring

2019-04-02 06:00
Exchanging punches are Ally Madewele of Drankenstein Prison and Ebrahim Rashidi from Pollsmoor.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Exchanging punches are Ally Madewele of Drankenstein Prison and Ebrahim Rashidi from Pollsmoor.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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About 34 inmates from four different correctional service facilities in the province took to the ring to show their commitment in correcting their wrongs during a boxing tournament held at Pollsmoor Correctional Service in Tokai on Wednesday 27 March.

Participants were from Bonnytoun Juvenile Detention Centre, Voorberg, Drakenstein and Wynberg Prisons and they were joined by students from the University of Western Cape, merging the gap between their lives currently and the outside world.

Event organiser Bonisile Mtshizana said the aim is to encourage them to think positively and know they are still part of the communities they come from. He said their focus is on correcting the wrongs, promoting self-control, discipline and respect for others, and creating good citizens.

Mtshizana says the response from the inmates has been positive, with some willing to carry on applying the skills, even outside the prison, once they are released.

“It is a good thing for us, our mandate is to do corrections of the wrongs that were done. If they are willing to go and be a better person that means our effort is not just a waste of time.”

He advised the public to find ways to meet ex-offenders halfway when they return to communities after serving their sentences.

“Some of these people have changed and deserve a second chance, let us not be a reason they find themselves in prison again.”

All participants were awarded with medals. They all showed commitment and enjoyed the entertainment by a local radio station.

The event is one of many rehabilitation programmes run by Pollsmoor during the year.

Pollsmoor inmates have no experience and volunteer to partake in the fight, and receiving coaching from local professionals.

For the boxing day they worked closely with Thembani “Baby Jake” Mbangatha for two weeks, leading up to the day.

William Gauke has been inside for three years and said he had been looking forward to this event. He said for him, it is not just about winning in the ring but meeting and learning from others and getting a new skill.

“The trainers taught us that boxing is not just a sport as we used to see it, it is all about using your mind, self-discipline and knowing yourself.”

Inmates from other prisons also shared the same view. Davon Pienaar from Drakenstein said events like these help him make sense of life from inside the prison. He says over the five years he has been inside he managed to change for the better.

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