gayton mckenzie

Gayton McKenzie has reflected on his life of crime. Images via Facebook: Gayton McKenzie

‘I was evil’: Gayton McKenzie reflects on life of crime after turning 50

Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie has reflected on his life of hard crime before he turned his life around…

gayton mckenzie

Gayton McKenzie has reflected on his life of crime. Images via Facebook: Gayton McKenzie

Gayton McKenzie has celebrated his 50th birthday, and to mark the milestone occasion, the Patriotic Alliance leader has reflected on his transformation from a hardened criminal to now fighting crime.

McKenzie is a former convict who served time for armed robbery. He was also a notorious “Americans” gangster and leader of a prison’s “26” gang.

In the early 2000s, he was part of a group of prisoners who exposed corruption at the Grootvlei Maximum Security Prison. During his time behind bars, he met friend and PA partner Kenny Kunene, whom he claims “saved” his life from a brutal attack.


In a Facebook post, Gayton McKenzie reflected on his humble beginnings.

He shared: “I was born in abject poverty. I was temporarily expelled from school because I questioned the limited careers on show at career day; I didn’t see astronauts, I didn’t see brain surgeons, etc, being put as an option.

“I so badly wanted to go jail; I wanted to obtain the street credentials; I wanted the street to respect me; I wanted people to fear me; I wanted everyone to know that I made my bones and served my time.”

After robbing banks, petrol stations, and casinos, Gayton was eventually sentenced to 17 years behind bars.

He continued: “I never imagined that I would reach the age of 25 in my life. We die before 25. It is the only thing we made peace with; we die, and we kill.

Patriotic Alliance leader
Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton Mckenzie says South Africa’s only hope to resolve illegal immigration, crime and unemployment challenges is to get rid of illegal immigrants. Image: The South African

“I became the boss of the prison. I controlled everything and everyone in that jail. Nothing happened without me getting my cut of the money. I was evil. I found God and changed my life in jail. I left jail a totally changed man.”

Inspiring his followers, he added: “It’s never about how you start but always about how you end.”


Speaking to Power FM in 2017, Gayton McKenzie claims he decided to commit crime as a young boy.

He told host Iman Rapetti: “I already knew that I would be a criminal at the age of 8; that was my choice, and that’s how I got involved.

He continued: “I robbed my first bank just before I turned 16. Then I was a fully-fledged gangster. I was one of the most wanted guys. I spent my whole youth in jail after being sentenced to 17 years”.

In jail, Gayton decided to turn his life around after he witnessed the brutal rape of an underage prisoner.

The account eventually led him to become one of the “Grootvlei Four” who exposed widespread corruption at the Bloemfontein prison.

He added: “I called my mom and told him that I am changing my life; I told them I needed a book on how to operate a secret video camera. I took the money I made selling drugs and brought a video camera for us inside.”