A second chance for prisoners

Melusi Nkosi motivating learners at a school.

If you don’t believe in second chances and rehabilitation Melusi Nkosi’s story will change your mind.

Even after being sentenced to life in prison for hijacking and robbery, Nkosi, Lazarus Marumoloa, Daniel Mabetoa and another mate, who is still in prison, still managed to turn their lives around while in prison.

While inside, they formed a non-profit organisation called Hlanganisa Mzansi.

“We decided to challenge this negative perception related to prisons, we did not want to fall into the same trap and we did not want the youngsters that were entering a prison to also fall into the same trap too,” said Nkosi.

Hlanganisa Mzansi used soccer to distract prisoners from all the negative happenings around them.

“We used soccer to distract prisoners from joining gangs then we slowly introduced the concept of school to them,” said Nkosi.

“Crime affects so many areas. It affects you as an individual, it affects the victims. If you kill someone you have killed a breadwinner, a colleague and a member of the community. You disappoint your friends and family.

“The South African Police Service itself is also affected because they have to deal with the crime scene that is gruesome. The people working at Correctional Services are also affected because they now have to deal with your out of control behaviour once you get to prison,” said Nkosi.

Melusi Nkosi finished his matric in prison and studied further through Unisa, he now has a BCom. Daniel Mabetoa is currently doing his practical training for Psychology and Lazarus Marumoloa is doing his last year studying Law.

The friend who is still in prison is finishing off his course in Agriculture.

The organisation was registered as an NPO last year when the co-founders were released, but it still needs accreditation.

“While we are waiting for accreditation, we want to show the Department of Social Development that we are serious about this organisation, we go to schools to motivate youngsters and it is not just a once-off because children need to be motivated all the time,” said Nkosi.

The organisation has also collaborated with Unisa. They go around schools informing learners about Law and igniting the passion for studying it.

They have a program that they run which learners can participate in before they start studying Law at Unisa.

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Noluthando Radebe

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