Ex-convicts have a new lease on life

From left are Azania Nkqezo, Andile Cele, Nomkhitha Mambumba from correctional services, Siphamandla Lumkile, Siyanda Dywili and, seated, Young in Prison facilitator, Siphe Nopo.

Four ex-convicts have been given the knowledge to start their own businesses and rebuild their lives.

They graduated from the six-month Siyakhana Entrepreneurship programme run by NPO Young in Prison South Africa last week.

Young in Prison South Africa in Victoria Road, Salt River, works towards the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of young people in conflict with the law through psychosocial, personal and entrepreneurial development.

The graduation ceremony was held in Salt River last Friday, June 9, where the group of four received their certificates.

The Siyakhana Entrepreneurship programme aims to give convicted youth the knowledge to start up their own businesses and grow as individuals.

Andile Cele, 23, from Kraaifontein, grew up on the street from the age of eight.

He was arrested in Namibia when he was 16 for overstaying his visit. He stayed in prison for six months.

“After joining Young in Prison I can already see the difference. I’m hoping I will be able to start up my mobile coffee cafe and make an honest living. I’m currently unemployed doing odd jobs to be able to pay my rent and support myself,” said Mr Cele.

Siphamandla Lumkile 25, from Strand served eight months in prison for theft when he was 19.

Mr Lumkile said he is now reformed and wants to start a cycling programme to introduce the sport in his community.

Azania Nkqezo, 23, also from Strand, said he now has the right skills to further his venture, Africa For you, uniting all Africans through fashion and style.

Siyanda Dywili 29, of Khayelitsha, who spent four years in prison, said he plans to open an art gallery in Khayelitsha to end poverty and keep young people from making the same mistakes that he did in the past. He said being part of the programme has been an eye-opener for him.