Cape Town - The Kolisi Foundation is helping a wrongfully arrested Cape teenager get his life back on track, after he’d spent eight months at Pollsmoor Prison while awaiting trial.
Sihle (surname withheld) from Table View, was arrested in June 2019, for an attempted robbery he didn't commit and kept in custody for all those months.
After the camera footage from the night in question was investigated, he was finally acquitted and released from Pollsmoor Prison.
While in Pollsmoor disconnected from the world, Sihle’s mom passed away in a car accident, and the home he had always known was taken over.
Upon his release, the 19-year-old had nowhere to go, and found himself sleeping on the streets. He slept in front of a police station, after being kicked out of a homeless shelter where he’d been living for three months.
Remembering a motivational speech Siya Kolisi, co-founder of the Kolisi Foundation, gave to the inmates during his time behind bars, Sihle ,took a leap of faith and reached out to the organisation to share his story and his hopes for his future.
To his surprise, Rachel Kolisi responded.
Inspired by Sihle’s strength and tribulations, the Kolisi Foundation is trying to help him turn his life around.
“I’ve come across so few people that are this resilient and so few people who have overcome what he has overcome,” said Rachel.
In line with their motto, “remember the one, one by one”, the Kolisi Foundation has found a temporary shelter for Sihle and enrolled him for courses to complete his matric. He’s also receiving computer skills development so he can have a better future, and follow his dreams.
To cover his basic living costs such as food, transport, and toiletries while staying at the shelter, the Kolisi Foundation has launched a crowdfunding campaign on BackaBuddy which has already raised over R33 000 towards their fundraising target of R150 000 with kind contributions from 86 donors.
Additional funds will be used to cover Sihle’s fixed monthly costs for rent and groceries, as well as psychologist services, or anything that could help with his health and wellness.
“I think it’s important for all of us as South Africans to realize that this is the state of our nation, and this is the state that people in our country are living in,” Rachel said.
“Sihle’s story is so important because it’s not just his story. It’s so many other people’s stories in our country. How are we making ourselves aware of these stories? And what are we doing to change that narrative?”