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Case Study: the transformation of Reginald Mphela

In 1993, when Reggie was in the 8th Grade, he became involved with a group of older boys who introduced him to drugs and alcohol. He dropped out of school. He started shoplifting and stealing to support his habits, which generated money quicker than making an honest living. He was first arrested in 1994, but soon released. For the following ten years, Reggie guesses that he was in and out of prison about a dozen times. Then, in 2004, everything changed; he finally received a long-term sentence. It was while incarcerated at Leeuwkop Correctional Centre that he met Paul Bruns, Hlumelelisa’s founder, and was introduced to horticulture. By this time, Reggie knew that he had to change the trajectory of his life. He had come to realise that he actually lived in prison and only occasionally visited the outside world. He grabbed the opportunity that Hlumelelisa presented and excelled at the horticultural training. He was chosen to monitor the training centre until his release in 2011. After completing the next level of training, he was appointed to supervise students’ practical work, at which he once again excelled. Then followed his appointment as trainee facilitator, and very shortly after that his appointment as facilitator at Leeuwkop Correctional Centre, where he still works today.

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