Khulumani’s Ms Rose Mathebula reflects on a powerful final session of the Khulumani Forum Theatre when it concluded its Monday Sessions for 2015 at Krugersdorp Correctional Facility.
On Monday, 7 December 2015, I visited the Krugersdorp Correctional Facility with our Director to provide support to the Khulumani Forum Theatre Youth Activists Group that has been providing a workshop to long-term offenders in the facility every Monday morning.
Our purpose was to review and evaluate the impact of these sessions on the participants. The participant group has expanded from the original 20 to 29 at present and they are calling for the programme to be reinstituted in 2016.
We were warmly welcomed by the DCS (Department of Correctional Services) staff including the Case Intervention Officer who oversees the sessions we offer each Monday.
From my perspective, I found the offenders had accepted that they were here to stay for the duration of their sentence. The session opened with the performance by the Khulumani Forum Theatre group from Lavela High School in Soweto. They performed a play about Teenage Pregnancy. It was a very emotional performance and was based on the truth of today’s life. I found the play very painful and hurtful because it accurately reflected why young women engage in unprotected sex. The performance was very educational.
This performance was followed by a performance by the offender Khulumani Forum Theatre group. This play revealed the full range of experiences that a newly sentenced offender can expect to encounter in prison and the challenges a released offender can expect to encounter when they are eventually released.
I felt so proud of the work that the Khulumani Group has achieved. I also learned how important it is to sustain the hope of sentenced offenders and to demonstrate care for them by visiting them.
I would like for the parents of these offenders, who are almost all young people, to be able to witness the power of what we saw in the prison on this past Monday morning. I believe the parents will realise that there is restorative work going on in prison and the small things that can prevent an offenders from re-offending.
Each participant will be receiving their certificate of attainment and participation before Christmas Day this year.