Prison Journalism Programme

The South African has partnered with an NGO called Restore for a Prison Journalism Programme. Image: Supplied by Restore

‘The South African’ partners with Restore for Prison Journalism Programme

Restore links ‘The South African’ with the formerly incarcerated for the Prison Journalism Programme, where they get a platform to tell their stories.

Prison Journalism Programme

The South African has partnered with an NGO called Restore for a Prison Journalism Programme. Image: Supplied by Restore

Restore, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Cape Town, recently started a Prison Journalism Programme with The South African that aims to give the formerly incarcerated a voice to tell their stories.

The Prison Journalism Programme gives former and current prison inmates the opportunity to write about their time as inmates and what led them there, in an effort to dissuade others from going down a similar path.

ALSO READ: Pollsmoor Prison: 10 notable former inmates

Lisa Marqua-Harries, who co-founded Restore in 2012, says: “I definitely see this [Prison Journalism Programme] as part of reintegration and income generation for these young men, often limited by criminal records and stigma. 

“This is a project which is helping build self-worth and dignity for them. It is accessible even if they don’t have access to computers; they can work through our NGO and The South African to make it possible.”

Fawaaz Adendorff, a former inmate, wants to use the Prison Journalism Programme to impact people’s lives.

“I would love to gain more writing skills and to also reach more people with our stories and make a positive impact globally.”

ALSO READ: Prison life: The daily routine of an inmate at Pollsmoor

How the Prison Journalism Programme works

Restore helps current and former inmates of Pollsmoor Prison through a myriad of programmes under the “restorative justice” banner. 

Thus, Restore is the bridge that links The South African with the formerly incarcerated. With The South African, they are granted a platform to tell their stories. 

Once an ex-offender has submitted an article, he/she is paid a fee for their story, putting money into the pockets of those who have struggled to earn a living during and after incarceration. 

ALSO READ: Prison Journalism: Black and Gay in prison

About Restore

Restore was started in Cape Town, South Africa, by Marqua-Harries and Lindsey Pettit-Lee in 2012 to deliver restorative justice courses for young offenders in Cape Town’s Pollsmoor Prison

prison journalism
Prisoners at Pollsmoor playing chess. Image: Restore

One of Restore’s many success stories is Lincoln Raker, who was incarcerated at Pollsmoor from 2013 until 2016 and participated in the restorative justice programme.

He now writes for The South African as part of the Prison Journalism Programme.

“The [restorative justice] programme has been incredibly beneficial to me, profoundly shaping my outlook on life. The invaluable lessons I learned have become an integral part of my daily life, enabling me to regain a sense of humanity.

ALSO READ: Prison Journalism: My first two days in Pollsmoor Prison

“I am genuinely grateful because it has empowered me to reintegrate into society and offer assistance to others who face similar challenges. I express my heartfelt appreciation for the unwavering support and belief that was extended to me, never giving up on my journey.”

Restore programmes

After many years of voluntary prison work Marqua-Harries and Pettit-Lee decided a consistent and systematic programme would best tackle the challenges of these young  offenders and so Restore was born.

Some of these systematic programmes are the Leadership Programme and Pollsmoor Inside Out, which were headed up course facilitator Celeste van Es.

ALSO READ: Prison Journalism: Life in Pollsmoor prison for the first time

“This programme has prompted deep reflection on how Celeste taught us about time during our time in prison. Even though I was only there for a day, it made me contemplate the duration I spent incarcerated.

“The teachings and discussions in the program have given me a newfound perspective on the passage of time and its significance in my life, both during my confinement and beyond,” says Jermaine Nomdoe, who served a six-month sentence at Pollsmoor.

Restore works hands-on with offenders both inside and outside of prison, their families, the justice cluster and civic society.