15 November 2009
By Thomo waga Nkgadima
Life inside prison may seem like the end of the road to many prisoners but for Benjamin Dublessis it is a place of new beginning. This is the view and attitude of positive offender but he say the will to change is the choice of individual offender. “Prison is not a good place to be but I decided to learn from my mistakes and move on with life”,
Dublesis (30), a fraud and forgery convict, serving 8 years at Baviaanspoort medium Correctional Centre of excellence turned his criminal hands into yielding hands. Taking care of and rearing bird was the beginning of new life for offender.
He is now enrolling for 3 months basic agriculture training in irrigation, pesticides, chemical treatment for vegetables.
“I was hanging out with bad friends. I choose to commit crime and support
my bad habit of drugs”, He said.
It is understood that offender‘s love for animals started long time ago when he was a very close friend of his dog. He learned to exercise his patience when he started looking after a small bird that was a month old, responsibility when he was feeding it until it can feed itself. He is being guided by correctional official Jimmy Swift on how to take care of the bird he gave to him. Despite being discouraged countless times by fellow inmates and later realised that fellow inmates now show affection towards his beautiful small bird.
“My fellow inmates were scared of my bird and soon realised that it is defenseless and cannot cause them harm” He said.
“I arranged another bird to breed it and teach fellow inmates interested to learn about birds,” He added.
“Instead of wasting my time I spend serving my sentence as part of the punishment by court for the offence I committed with prison mischievous gang of offenders resisting rehabilitation. I am looking after my bird and build a cage for it to stay”,
“Looking after my bird helps me to relieve my stress. I get it flowers from the Avocado tree in the vegetable garden and feed it every day”