In the small confides of a cell, a woman sits pining away for her family. Having broken the law, she now faces jail time. But, the greatest punishment she faces is not the bleak walls of her cell, but rather in not seeing her family.
While there are those who have shunned her, society has not given up on her entirely. For her and other inmates, there is a glimmer of hope.
Mrs World Peace Africa, Zandi Zwane is determined to reach out to the inmates of Newcastle Correctional Services. On Wednesday, May 23, she visited the correctional services to interact with female offenders.
“I have this initiative, where I help female inmates. We look at why they are here and where do they go to from here,” she says.
Forging forward into the future might be a daunting task, but Zandi is adamant in making a positive contribution to the women. “Some of them are victims of abuse and are here because they killed their husbands. Now, their children are outside and have this stigma. People will tell their children to avoid playing with the inmate’s child because of what she has done.”
How do we help these women and their children?
Zandi says the first step in helping, especially the children, is to accept them. “We need to ensure these children don’t grow up angry and don’t break the law.”
Furthermore, she emphasises that the women have already faced their punishment. “Not being able to see your children is already a punishment. As a mother myself, my heart bleeds for these women. Not knowing if their children are safe, have eaten or are sleeping in a safe place is a horrible thought.”
On Wednesday, Zandi visited the inmates with spiritual leaders and officials from the health department. This is to show the women that there are still those who care about them.
“I also normally come in my lunch breaks to do aerobics with the inmates, as to help them deal with their stress in a healthy way.”
As Zandi works closely with the female inmates, she is to be commended for giving back to the community. Remembering those who society often forgets.
“We all make mistakes. While we can’t say what these women have done is just a mistake, we need to remember we are not perfect,” Zandi concluded.