Former Paralympian and convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius has found a new purpose behind bars, leading a Bible studies and prayer group and harvesting vegetables, his father Henke has told The Times UK.
Pistorius was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on February 14, 2013.
He was sentenced in July 2016 to six years in prison for murder, even though the prosecution had called for a minimum prison sentence for murder, which is 15 years behind bars.
News24 previously reported that the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein increased his sentence to 13 years in November 2017.
This takes into account the time he had already served behind bars.
This December marked the second Christmas that Pistorius has spent behind bars. He still has to serve another five years before he is eligible for parole in 2023.
According to his father, Pistorius is doing well in prison and has been in a better place since his conviction.
Pistorius' father said his son was having a positive spiritual impact on his fellow inmates, and that he also had his own garden inside the prison.
In the meantime, he was set on serving other inmates, providing them with good Christian knowledge, and offering hope to those who need it, his father said.
Finding new purpose behind bars
Henke Pistorius told The Times UK that Oscar "is making a difference to others who really needed a difference to be made".
"As a result, things have also improved for him."
Earlier this year, in April, the Constitutional Court dismissed Pistorius' leave to appeal his 13-year sentence, which was welcomed by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
The Atteridgeville Correctional Centre – which is smaller and better adapted for disabled prisoners – has also given Pistorius a piece of land where he can grow vegetables.
Henke said that the vegetable garden was no ordinary garden.
"Oscar, being an artist, didn't just do square blocks of vegetables, he has designed a face," said Henke.
"The hair (of the face) is [a] certain type of veggies and the ears and mouths are something else. It's quite incredible."
News24 previously reported that Pistorius was allowed out of prison in early November this year on "compassionate leave" to attend his grandfather's memorial service.
Pistorius was escorted to the memorial service, and was taken back to prison immediately thereafter.
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