Celebs Visit Pretoria Central Prison
On Friday, 08 April, 2011, Tebogo Lepito Mogola (Vuzu Channel O, Mzanzi Magic) Percy Vilakazi (Rhythm City) and a group of our favourite South African celebrities took part in a prison rehabilitation initiative, at the Pretoria Central Prison.
09:00 am the likes of Thapelo Mokoena (Skyf director and former Fear Factor presenter), Thomas Gumede (South African comedian and actor) and Fentselite (Kaya FM’s content editor) lined up in front of the so called doors of hell, waiting to be warmly welcomed into “The Boys’ University of life”.
The aim of the initiative was to shed light on prison life, in hope for contribution and assistance towards the prison rehabilitation programme. The goal of the prisoner’s rehabilitation program is to reform the prisoners from committing crimes and assisting them in starting normal lives without any criminal activities. It was also to give the talented prisoners a platform to express whatever hidden talents they possess.
Brown prison warder uniform, Orange outfits, dark and gloomy passage ways, silver cutlery used by the prison inmates and loud cheers from the inmates were the first things that these brave souls heard as they entered the reception area, not knowing that they were to be locked up and allowed to manoeuvre around the cells with the inmates. After an eye-opening tour around the prison and entering life threatening inmates territory : C-max prison, the visitors were treated to a live performance by the Pretoria Central Prison jazz band, led by Leonard Moloi from singing group,DENIM. (He got 12 years in jail for murder. Read HERE)
They later performed a play translating situations which led them to prison. It was the inmates’ first performance since they started the irnew Drama department.
Mogola (Assistant Producer at Dontlookdown.tv) exclaimed “it’s a part of my far-fetched vision to help those who have no way out in life and I feel it’s my responsibility to rehabilitate inmates who have had their dreams crushed in the aim of alleviating poverty. The truth is that I could see myself in those guys.”
The different actors’ roles were to give the rehabilitated inmates direction into achieving their goals in Arts, music and drama, and also encouraging them to never give up on life and keep the spirit of “Ubuntu” alive in South Africa.
Thapelo Mokoena spoke about how we need to appreciate life more and how he will do his bit to help out and give a platform to the hidden talent behind bars.
Nokuthula Ledwaba better known as Tshidi on Rhythm City, was overwhelmed with sorrow, and said that she loves all the prison in-mates and forgives them for their wrong doings. She also continued to say that she will play her role as a sister to her brother, in aim of directing him to achieve his dreams and never taking the easy way out.
Thomas Gumede said after that experience he is done complaining about petty stuff like pot holes, the South African weather and petrol prices going up. He added that being behind bars showed him that there are real issues out there, and that he thanks the guys for their inspiration.
More prison rehabilitation visits will be arranged for more South Africans, Celebrities and people who want to take part in transforming the lives of those who have done wrong and try play a role in assisting them into the road of success.
Don’t do crime or get peer pressured into anything because in the end you are left alone to face the music ….
By Neo Tlaka