“I am happy to see boxing coming to life in prisons. They are preparing the inmates for life after their sentences. When this is taken seriously I think we are not going to have inmates committing other offenses after their sentences.”
‘Betha! Betha!’ (beat him, beat him) ‘Come on, right jab! left jab!’ were cheers from inmates and prison officials at the launch of the sport of boxing at Pollsmoor Prison on Thursday.
“Boxing was quiet for a long time at the prison. We are aiming at producing law abiding citizens of all ages,” said Clifford Luketshare, the Pollsmoor Prison Commissioner at the opening of competition.
Luketshare believes training inmates in various sporting will prepare them for the outside world.
Inmates from Bonnytoun, Malmesbury and Drakenstein prisons battled it out.
Speaking to Elithsa a 17-year-old inmate from Bonnytoun prison said, “I never trained boxing at home. I am receiving this training at the prison. The sport makes me feel better. I would like to see such moments as this as a form of entertainment.”
Another inmate from Pollsmoor looking excited said, “This is the sort of entertainment authorities should bring to us. I love this sport. Before the introduction of boxing it was athletics only but we were looking for more entertaining sporting activities.” The inmate aims making it his life career when he is out of prison.
“When I am out of prison I would like to continue receiving training. I would like to be one of the South African boxing champions. Thanks to the prison officials for introducing boxing,” he says.
Among the guests was Jaji Sibali a former, three-time defender of the South African flyweight champion (1989 -1991).
“I am happy to see boxing coming to life in prisons. They are preparing the inmates for life after their sentences. When this is taken seriously I think we are not going to have inmates committing other offenses after their sentences. One of the reasons for them to create more crimes is that they have nothing to do after jail term.”
Sibali trains in boxing at a primary school in Khayelitsha.
According to Nkosinathi Vukusi, one of the boxing coaches at Pollsmoor prison, the launch of the sport will change the image of the prison.
“Pollsmoor is well known for wrong things, including overcrowding. We aim to change this image by producing future boxing champions” he says.