Cricket ball. image via Pexels

Prison journalism: From Kimberley to Pretoria – A journey of sports, love and resilience

David van Nek was incarcerated in Pollsmoor Prison from 2013 until 2015 and participated in the restorative justice programme.


Cricket ball. image via Pexels

Let me tell you something that I remember from the day I went to Kimberley. I arrived in Kimberley with nothing but aspirations to become a hero. There was a cricket team, but no one knew the game like I did.

Life in the Cell with Killer

Okay, right, I was with Killer in one cell, but you must remember that Killer was a very quiet guy. The only game he knew was cricket. Okay, Killer was the head coach, I was his assistant, and we turned Kimberley into a house on fire. We ended up champions of the league. The guys shouted to respect the wardens of the prison; we ended up number two on the tag.

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Transition to Pretoria

I stayed in Kimberley for six months and then moved from Kimberley to Pretoria. Upon my arrival in Pretoria, they already knew about my history in football and cricket. In Pretoria, I played both sports. In cricket, I opened the batting, and in soccer, I played as number 6. In Pretoria, I was the general of the house. By this time, on the soccer field, I was a ‘Black Jesus’; the guys blessed me right and left. That was the way the other guy told me once about the way I play. Later, my best friend told me that his girlfriend’s friend wanted to meet King. That was in Pretoria, and I am still in love with her. That lady from Pretoria, back to Cape Town, I was at Medium C.

Under House Arrest

My address was from Cape Town, so now I was under house arrest. I was out on parole, signing parole. I was out for three months, one day the officers came for a visit at night, around midnight or 2, I think.

ALSO READ: Prison Journalism: Realities and challenges in Pollsmoor Prison

Encounter with the Officers

So, I came from a party late at night, I was so drunk that day. The officers kicked at the door. I asked what’s up, they said open up, and I said who’s there. They said open up, you’ll see. I opened the door, next thing there were two guys. They greeted, ‘What’s up, Mr. van Nek?’ I said, ‘Okay, I am alright, you look a little drunk.’ ‘Yes, I am.’ ‘Okay, we are going to the police station for questions.’ I asked them if I was going to jail. They said yes. ‘Okay, before I go to jail, let me drink my two beers.’ One guy said yes, the other one said no. After all, they said, ‘Finish up, man.’ That was my first time in my life I drank a beer for one hour. The other guy said, ‘No, no, let’s go.’

When I arrived at Pollsmoor Medium C, I lifted weights non-stop. I was a ‘Batista’.

DISCLAIMER: Submission published as received

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

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