I Have A Dream
When I left prison in December 2005, I had ONE dream: to NEVER return; to NEVER show face again, and to do everything in my power to do so. And I say I had a ‘DREAM’- not in the same way that Martin Luther King had one- but because sometimes, dreams come true, and sometimes they don’t. And for most of the guys in my neighbourhood, staying out of prison was/is the epitome of a pipe dream. In fact, it’s a pipe dream for most ‘coloured criminals’ on the streets of the Western Cape.
But I made it. (been making it for the last 11 years)
I’ve made it because people took long shots on me. People who actually believed something beautiful and inspiring could come from my life, long before I believed it for myself.
And so, I’ve made a commitment to myself, to stay connected to my friends from my old life; to continue to support them; taking shots and chances on them; hoping and believing that they too will realize something good can come from their lives.
So when Wayde van Niekerk won a gold medal in the Olympics in Rio, I celebrated. I celebrated not only for South Africa, but I celebrated for every coloured laaitie whose only role models are the ones in and out of prison.
I celebrated for my friends that still battle the tight claws of gangsterism, and drugs, and the echoing words of “die tronk is jou voorland”. Because finally, it’s not a white or black man they can look up to. It’s one of their own. and it could have been one of them.
So excuse me (with an attitude)on Facebook if I made it about being Coloured. Excuse me if I offended you because I want to see my friends dreaming about life after prison. Excuse me if I made it about ‘race’ again, and that I cannot get ‘past the past’.
Recently, I was called to testify on behalf of a friend in prison, to emphasise his rehabilitation in prison, and that he’s ready to be released. His parole hearing is coming up in this month.
The tables have turned for me. My dream is still alive.
Wayde has given us an example to follow.
And it is my duty; my call, my newfound ‘dream’ to speak hope into the lives of a forgotten race in South Africa.