Sandile Stangoni flanked by KZN Education MEC Kwazi Mshengu and Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala. Picture supplied
Durban - From all the prisoners in KwaZulu-Natal who wrote the 2019 National Senior Certificate exam, the top five prisoners were from the Usethubeni Youth Centre in Westville Correctional services.

Siyabonga Mthethwa, Xolani Shabalala, Lindokuhle Mthethwa, Siphesihle Lata and Sandile Stangoni received their awards during the NSC Awards Ceremony at the ICC on Wednesday.

Stangoni, 21, who is serving time for robbery, was the number one achiever in KZN prisons. He was arrested last year at his home in Wentworth.

Stangoni was excited about his award, saying he hoped his achievement would be an inspiration to other inmates.

“I am grateful to those who worked tirelessly to help us with our studies at the centre. I also worked hard and I was dedicated,” he said.

He wanted to study architecture at UCT but said next year he would be out on parole.

“As UCT might not happen, I hope to start tertiary immediately through Unisa so that by the time I get released I would just continue with my studies without any interruptions.”

His parents were happy to hear about the award and he said they could see he was changing his way of life.

“I now remember everything that they kept telling me since I was a little boy. ‘Education is life’, that’s what my mother always said. I advise prisoners to come to Usethubeni Youth Centre and get an education, that is the only thing that will improve their lives when they get back into the society.”

Among the top five, Siyabonga, 21, said he could not thank his teachers enough.

He also spoke highly of the support and motivation they received from the youth centre.

He was serving time for assault and is being released at the end of this month. He hoped to study IT, but that would depend on whether or not he received financial assistance.

Acting KwaZulu-Natal Commissioner for Correctional Services, James Smalberger, said they were proud of their pupils. He said in partnership with the Department of Education and other departments, they were doing all they could to create opportunities for the inmates and to support them.

Daily News