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Prison journalism: Second Chance, Second Fall: Cricket, Contraband and Survival

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


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Now, let’s move on to the next chapter. I’ll tell you all about it. That is prison for you. This is my second time around; now it’s for parole breach.

Second Stint in Prison: The Parole Breach

The lady close to my heart, whom we call Miss N., asked me what happened. I messed up big time. I came from a party, and next thing, I was back in prison. I was drunk when the warden officers arrived; you know those guys don’t phone to tell you they’re coming for a visit. Next thing, I was in court, sentenced to three months behind bars. The second time around, I started playing cricket like nobody’s business. Captain J., the office block cleaner, gave me the old job.

ALSO READ: Prison journalism: My Relationship with the Guards

Dangerous Liaisons and Prison Politics

I didn’t work long before some guys in section C4 told me to inform Captain that they were planning to harm his friend. The 26’s and 27’s can be lethal. Captain’s friend was murdered because Captain misused the guys’ money. They never questioned him about anything; when he said ‘be strong tomorrow’, that was it. The amount that Captain profited was excessive. The 26’s and 27’s shot his friend dead. Now, he started bringing drugs into prison, I tell you, trust no one.

Entering the World of Contraband

One day, Captain called me to his office and said he wanted me to deliver these phones, I think they were the 27’s or 28’s, to a single cell and give them to Mr. X. I didn’t want to give the guy full names. Mr. X received the phones and was so happy, he almost kissed my feet. I could sell each phone for R1000,00. But the money wasn’t that appealing. Mr. X made me a salesman; I sold the phones for him, but occasionally, I cheated him out of the money. I hit him hard. Captain always told me to be careful how I did things because his job was at risk.

ALSO READ: Prison journalism: Betrayal, Violence and the Captain’s Escape

The Burden of Responsibility

He had a family to support; his kids were in high school. But if he got caught, I would still be sentenced alone. So, let me tell you, there are guys who never get visits, and I know them all. When I go to the shop, I buy for all of us. I share my groceries with them, which brought me more and more blessings.

Survival Through Contraband

I had two phones in the cell, one for the 26’s and 27’s, and the other for the 28’s. I ended up running around in prison with phones and drugs, trying to make a living.

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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