Story of Hope: From Hardened Prisoner to Inspiring MentorJanuary 7, 2019
Mthetheleli (MT) was one of six children, all struggling to live on their mother’s income. His parents did not share the same values, and the tension made life difficult. The children suffered, and became undisciplined. Their community was constantly at war, forcing them to continually seek refuge. MT and his siblings scattered in their own direction. His mother pleaded with him to make the right choices, and not end up in prison. Sadly, he didn’t comply, and began a downward spiral into a life of crime. Fast cars, fast choices, and young people perishing prematurely desensitised MT to this lifestyle.
Finally, his crimes caught up with him and MT ended up being sentenced to 45 years in prison.
While in Drakenstein Correctional Services (DCS) Facility after a violent battle between rival gangs, MT sensed a small voice warning him that unless he changed, it might be his blood that is spilt. In his room, he prayed a prayer and decided to change his life. The hardest part was informing the gang members, fearing they might seek revenge. It took courage but he was ready to become a better man.
He was given a prayer book which helped him pray more effectively as his life began to change. Inspirational people came alongside MT, faithfully nurturing him in his walk. While still feeling his past holding him back, and his future uncertain, MT met people from The Message Trust who were running programmes for prisoners.
Since his release from prison, The Message Trust has helped MT find accommodation, employment and provided ongoing mentorship and support. He is currently working with The Message Trust in their Gangstar Café social enterprise, overseeing all their merchandise and sharing his story of transformation with the public. MT also regularly mentors other young men in prison and gangs sharing a message of hope.