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Prison Journalism: Reflections on past and present

23/02/2024

Prison Journalism: Reflections on past and presentThabo Mthembu was incarcerated in Pollsmoor Prison from 2014 to 2019. Read Thabo's story

by Thabo Mthembu

23-02-2024 08:23

in Prison Journalism

Prison yard

Image via Unsplash

From birth, we have no control over what kind of life we are born into or what life lessons we experience. We have more control over the kind of people we will meet. I believe the only way to overcome this is to take introspection of oneself when it comes to actions and reactions on oneself.

--

When I look at the environment, I have found myself in, both inside my prison and out, I find myself asking the question: what is the difference between inside and outside?

Prisoners inside have jobs, and even though being inside is no joke-it is life or death with lots of plotting and screaming-just as it is outside. Everything is more likely to get you set up or killed, both outside and inside of a prison cell.

False people are most likely found outside, as the world carries more prejudices and fear around with them now more than ever, with the increase of unemployment, homelessness, and poverty affecting all the different racial and social groups. In such a way that crimes of violence now seem to become a norm.

--

Elections ahead Elections become a strong cycle filled with baseless hype, with only the upper class of our nation benefiting mostly! With the poor, young, and old in most social settings being forced to step above the normal conventional method by employing the underground skills to provide for themselves and their families. It has become a norm to live the way ghettos are increasing, and new ghettos are being built further away from positive environments as the state fears crime seeping over and urban zones being overrun by crimes such as break-ins and drug dealing. Now the state sits with that very real problem, actually being made a reality that seems not to be changing soon.

Bad things about this period Sad things about the times of today is that everyone is governed by fear, and those who have financial stability behave and treat the less fortunate as if they are nothing but scum of the earth. The big question is, are we going forward or backward as a nation? More prisons are built instead of looking at the real problem and finding a solution to the current state we find ourselves in.

The current mindset is everyone for themselves. If you ask yourself how much one needs to serve or provide for one's family and how many earn below the minimum wage, you will be able to see why crime is on the increase.

--

The youth and young adults don't know anything better than the belief that crime pays, and there are not enough role models out there encouraging a positive lifestyle. There are even those who haven't left the ghettos or even know there is a better way of life than living a life of crime and drugs.

Hope! I believe the only way for there to be a change is through inner growth and a change of environment. We need all of us as a nation to come together and educate each other about our lives, and maybe things may change.

To understand each other is to have a greater ability for growth, even though we all may be having our own individual problems.

DISCLAIMER: Submission published as received

Should you wish to assist in the rehabilitation of former inmates and help put money into the pockets of those who have struggled to earn a living during and after incarceration, click HERE

RESTORE is an NGO based in Cape Town, South Africa, providing inmates at Pollsmoor Prison with restorative justice opportunities.

If you have any questions you would like to ask our prison journalists, WhatsApp us on 060 011 0211.

Do you have contact with a prison inmate who would like to write for The South African website? If so, send an email to info@thesouthafrican.com or a WhatsApp to 060 011 0211.

You can also follow @TheSAnews on Twitter and The South African on Facebook to get the latest prison journalism articles.

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