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Empowerment through words: Writing workshop for former incarcerated individuals in Cape Town

20/11/2023

Empowerment through words: Writing workshop for former incarcerated individuals in Cape TownRestore's workshop which aimed to enhance the writing skills of ex-prisoners and providing support for expressing unique experiences.

by Victor Busco

20-11-2023 17:17

in Prison Journalism

An Image taken at the workshop.

Image by Restore

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - On Saturday, 18 November 2023, the NGO Restore conducted a transformative writing workshop at Gangstar Cafe in Mowbray, specifically designed for formerly incarcerated individuals. Since June 2023, a growing group of participants has been engaging in these workshops, which initially began with six regular attendees. This month, two new participants joined, expanding the reach and impact of this initiative.

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Building Skills and Structure in Writing The primary goal of this recent workshop was to enhance the participants' writing skills, focusing on structuring articles and constructing arguments. An argument, as defined in the workshop, is a writer's position on a topic, supported by logic or evidence, crafted to persuade others of its truth or validity. This concept is vital in empowering the participants to express their thoughts coherently and convincingly.

ALSO READ: Prison journalism: Things that still stick with you once you're out of prison

Practical Application and Learning After a theoretical introduction to what constitutes an argument, comprising paragraphs, sentences, and words, the group was tasked with a practical exercise. They were asked to write about their relationships with wardens during their time in prison. This exercise served as an example for applying their newly acquired knowledge on structuring their narratives, focusing on the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, as well as incorporating titles and subtitles.

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ALSO READ: A Glimpse into Prison Life: Challenges and Survival

Therapeutic and Empowering Outcomes The outcome of the workshop was remarkable. The participants' writings showed a significant improvement in structure, making their stories more compelling and understandable. Writing, in this context, goes beyond a mere skill. It acts as a therapeutic outlet and a means of empowerment, allowing these individuals to convey their ideas with greater clarity and confidence.

The Ongoing Journey of Restore The NGO Restore remains committed to these workshops, recognising the importance of writing as a tool for personal growth and reintegration into society. By equipping formerly incarcerated individuals with the skills to articulate their experiences and perspectives, Restore is not only fostering individual healing but also contributing to a broader understanding of the complexities faced by those re-entering society.

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ALSO READ: Prison journalism: Challenges In Pollsmoor Healthcare Facilities

As these workshops continue to evolve, the participants are finding their voices, transforming their experiences into powerful narratives that resonate beyond the walls of the workshop, offering hope and inspiration for many.

This article was written by Victor Busco

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

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

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LINK: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/culture/prison-journalism/empowerment-...
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