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Twenty-eight female guards were unfairly dismissed by a security company because the client‚ Metrora.

A life of crime and doing time is not for sissies

By unknown | Oct 15, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

TWO columns ago I shared my two pennies' worth about youngsters who brag that they are ready for jail if that is the price you pay for doing crime.

TWO columns ago I shared my two pennies' worth about youngsters who brag that they are ready for jail if that is the price you pay for doing crime.

A brief recap: I related the story of Bra Mgwazeni, a green-eyed monster of a prisoner who killed and broke necks more times than many people have had sex. In jail, though, bigger, badder prisoners reduced him to a submissive pansy.

So when some people say prison is "not your mother's house", take heed.

An e-mail doing the rounds said of the late Michael Jackson: "America is the only place where a poor black boy can grow to become a rich old woman."

Back here down south, I have witnessed jail turn a rugged bully-boy into a whimpering, hyper-religious old lady. Almost.

Rewind to years back at primary school.

The school yard hero was a stocky, bow-legged boy who took delight in bashing our heads against the wall, especially when the girls were around.

The girls loved him for that, while the rest of us wimps looked up to him with a mixture of hatred and envy.

He seemed to have seen every movie that was ever made - the violent ones, that is.

Jeepers ... to think I could not say "bioscope" in my father's presence.

Everywhere the blighter went, there was always a small group of eager listeners around him, whom he regaled with what he said were real-life stories of knife fights he had witnessed and sometimes participated in.

Then one day he brought a bullet to school, showing it off in the boys' toilet. Word spread and before school was out, the police barged into the classroom and bundled him off to the cop shop.

A few days later he was back at school to an even bigger heroic welcome.

Then one day he disappeared for good. It was said he had been caught with a stolen car.

Years later, I heard he had committed more serious crimes and was what was then called a "bloubaadjie" (nine to 15 years).

By sheer coincidence, after the piece on Bra Mgwazeni a fortnight ago, I was reading a newspaper while my car was being washed, when a group of singing churchgoers went past.

One of them, a tiny little reed of a man, came up to me and stood there, smiling the angelic smile of the pure at heart.

He wore white-and-blue church robes like the rest of his group, and carried a staff in one hand and large Bible in the other.

He shook my hand with a weak, soft hand, his wrinkled face contorting into a granny-like grin. Had he not had a beard, he could have been mistaken for a grand old lady.

I recognised him immediately. He was the bully boy ... out of prison and happily chanting glory hallelujah.

Jail had tamed him, but one thing it could not remove was ... the Pirates tattoo on his forehead.


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