The Department of Correctional Services held a luncheon in honour of its Free State/Northern Cape offenders, who won 34 trophies at the Funds Mzantsi Championship in George. The 10th national Funds Mzantsi championship took place over the 23-27 September 2019. It consisted of four categories, namely Book Review, book reading, debates and spelling bee in the eleven official languages.
The Free State/ Northern Cape offenders received trophies in Afrikaans, Sesotho, Setswana, isiXhosa and Xitsonga under the five book clubs which are Ipeleng, Cheetahs, Gemsbok, literati and Inkwenkwenzi. The Correctional Services Kimberley management held a camp for the participants who were going to represent the region from the 12th August 2019, until they departed for the championship.
The Kimberley area Commissioner, Commissioner Phajane, is happy that the team kept its promise to the regional Commissioner of bringing more than 30 trophies.
“When the winners were called out the offenders said they are bringing 40 trophies and I said to them ‘no man don’t be greedy, allow others to take something home too’, but I am happy they exceeded our expectations by far”.
Elias Ngakaemang is part of the Ipeleng book club which took most of the trophies, he expressed his gratitude to the hard-working management that made it possible for the book clubs to thrive within the center, while working towards improving the lives of offenders.
The female offenders made a card of gratitude to thank the technical team for leading them.
Technical team member, Thandi Mofokeng thanked the offenders for being the most disciplined team led at the championships. She encouraged the offenders to carry forth the baton while quoting an offender who was supposed to have been released last year but wanted to stay to be part of this year’s championships, “I cannot leave yet without winning anything at the championship”. The said offender won two trophies this year and was released after the competition. It is said that he will be starting his own book club in George.
One of the stakeholders who made the trip to George possible was pleased with the amount of accolades the offenders brought home. Sanlam manager, Jabulani Mabuza, congratulated the team for bringing home the trophies as this shows that their funding did not go to waste.
The regional Commissioner Moodley, excitedly congratulated the team saying it shows that there is change taking place within the offender’s as they have decided to use their time in the centers positively. She also encouraged the offenders to recruit more offenders within the center to join the book clubs as some may not know how to read and write.
The Northern Cape/Free State region has improved, as in 2018 the book clubs only won 20 trophies. The theme for this year’s championship was Promoting Indigenous Languages.