FORGIVENESS is not easy and a lot of people struggle with it. But what happens when someone who hurt you or took the life of your loved one asks for forgiveness while they are in prison paying for their crime? The first season of Mzansi Magic’s, Yobe, gives offenders the opportunity to engage with victims of their crimes or their victim’s families. The show is a reminder of the importance of forgiveness, which is the first step to healing.
FORGIVING THEMSELVES FIRST
Hosted by Isibaya actor, Siyabonga Thwala, Yobe gives offenders the opportunity to ask for forgiveness from their victims or families of their victims. The show sees the offenders admitting to their crimes in order for them to be forgiven, giving the victims closure and the chance to carry on with their lives. The docu-series unpacks the stories of the perpetrators as they take accountability for their actions by apologising to their victims. The victim sets the tone for the dialogue by recalling the dreadful events that changed their lives. The offenders are also offered counselling in order for them to be able to forgive themselves. They are encouraged not to be hard on themselves and given the courage to step forward and admit what they have done.
CHANGE IS POSSIBLE
We live in a society that has lost its moral fibre. The justice system is attempting to rehabilitate offenders, but prison cannot undo the damage that has already been done. Reneilwe Sema, the director of local entertainment channels at M-Net, says viewers will relive the incident which resulted in the offender being jailed through re-enactment. “The offender then proceeds to write a letter to the victim or victim’s family expressing their desire to meet with them. Once both parties agree to meet face-to-face, mediation occurs under the guidance of trained correctional services facilitators and social workers,” he says. “Yobe is not just about seeking forgiveness, it also aims to unpack the socio-economic issues at the heart of South African crime stories and to explore the notion that change is possible for convicted offenders within the correctional system”
WHAT THE SHOW DOES
Siyabonga says he understands the concept of the show and wants to bring peace to families. “South Africa has a long and painful history of violence and forgiveness. The driving force behind Yobe is to bring together people who have been hurt and done wrong by those behind bars and to help foster a conversation as a step towards forgiveness and ultimately closure,” he says.