Address by the Minister, Mr. Sibusiso Ndebele, MP National Offender Jazz Festival, Grootvlei Correctional Centre, Mangaung, Free State
19 Oct 2012
Programme Director: Chief Deputy Commissioner Mr. Teboho Mokoena
Executive Mayor of the Mangaung Metro Municipality: Your Worship, Councillor Thabo Manyoni
Free State MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture & Recreation: Mr. D.A.M. Kgothule
Correctional Services Chief Operations Officer: Ms. Nontsikelelo Jolingana
Arts & Culture Chief Operations Officer: Ms. Beliswa Baduza
Free State/Northern Cape Regional Commissioner: Ms. Subashni Moodley
Other Senior Officials
All Members of the Correctional Services Family
Members of the media
We are assembled here in Mangaung at a historic event: South Africa’s first National Offender Jazz Festival. Today, as part of Rehabilitation through the Arts, we will witness rehabilitation in action by approximately 200 inmates from Correctional Centres across the country.
Music is an effective means to foster correction, rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. It is, indeed, a great day when a section of our offender population, those talented in music and willing to showcase their talents as part of the rehabilitation process, come forward to say, “we are indeed changing; we are becoming better citizens in our beloved South Africa”. Music puts people on display, causing them to express who they are and what positive attributes they have, without any hindrance. The composer, as well as the performer of a song, is an expressive performing artist.
As artists, the composer and performer use the expressive power of music to mediate between various spaces in society. Music builds bridges, even where there are language barriers. Music builds bridges, even where there are societal barriers. There is no denying a song, its composer and performer, once it is set in motion. As they say, You Cannot Argue With A Song.
In the 19th century, African slaves, freed during the end of the slave era, soon realised that they would not go back to Africa anytime soon.
They set about finding ways of expressing their new found freedom, by re-inventing African music in the new world. Throughout the slave era, the Christian hymn had become their main mode of musical, and cultural, expression. With the new found freedom the hymn had to be retained, re-energised and fused with the African musical traditions they were about to forget. The result was a new musical genre expressing a desire for a new life. Those who perform jazz are people who are constantly in search of a new life, a new beginning, a new way of looking at the old life and re-interpreting it. Jazz is music of expression based on experience.
In South Africa, jazz music started as music of rebellion against the oppressive colonial status quo. When the dignity of Black city dwellers was taken away through various curfews, Marabi music exploded in Sophiatown, Alexandra and other Black residential areas. Again, it was characterised by the meeting of the Christian hymn with African rhythms, finding new texts in the experiences of oppressive city life. Over the years, there have been jazz groups with monumental presence including the Jazz Epistles of the 1950’s, the musical King Kong of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s as well as towering jazz legends including Merriam Makeba, Abdullah Ebrahim and Hugh Masekela. As part of the Copyright related industries, music contributes up to R2 billion annually to our country’s Gross domestic product (GDP).
The music industry comprises of creators who compose, and perform, music, agents, recording companies, promoters, lawyers, retail outlets as well as a long value chain of copyright based royalties’ regime. In 2010, the Cape Town Jazz Festival alone contributed up to R685 million to the country’s GDP, employing over 2,000 people in the process. Therefore, as our inmates perform here today, remember there is an entire industry waiting for you upon your release.
The National Offender Jazz Music Festival aims at rehabilitating the offender through music, and group participation, and to identify the hidden talent within the offender. Priorities of the festival include:
- To encourage offenders to be part of a group, and adapt to its norms and values, thereby promoting respect, individual growth and self-discipline.
- To enable the Departments of Correctional Services and Arts and Culture to use arts, culture and heritage effectively as a tool for bringing about a lasting positive change in the lives of offenders.
- To render effective and efficient management of all offender arts, culture and heritage programmes.
On 11 October, Dr. Zoliswa Twani presented her research findings, as part of her PhD in Music, at the Department of Correctional Services Monthly Dialogue Forum. The PhD is titled: “Music behind bars: exploring the role of music as a tool for rehabilitation and empowerment of offenders at Mthatha Medium Correctional Centre." The findings highlighted that the department should seriously consider introducing teaching and learning of music as an examination subject in Correctional Centres.
The Department of Correctional Services is embarking on Victim Offender Dialogues. The objective of this programme is to put the victim back at the centre of the corrections system, as the victim is directly, and personally, affected by the criminal act of the offender. Equally, the offender must be given an opportunity to reflect on his or her wrongs and request forgiveness.
We want to create opportunities where various stakeholders defined as victims of crime, those affected personally, their families, communities, community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, religious and spiritual bodies, educators, councillors and local leaders, will assemble together with offenders with a single purpose to rebuild our communities ravaged by crime.
We want to reinforce corrections programmes through music, reading for redemption, creative literature, the arts, cultural events, heritage renewal events, sporting events, formal education and acquisition of skills, economic renewal through cooperatives and enterprise development, spiritual growth and self-correcting interventions, among others.
The trilogy of victim, offender and community must play a leading role in the implementation of the Victim Offender Dialogues. The correction of offender behaviour is the responsibility of everyone. In their paper, titled “A Model for Community Corrections Residential Centres in South Africa from a Social Work perspective,” University of Pretoria academics AEM van der Westhuizen and A. Lombard (2005), state the following: “Society expects the state to safeguard its citizens from criminal harm.
However, solving crime cannot be the sole responsibility of the state, the police, the courts or the criminal justice system. Crime originated in the community and therefore the community should not only be an important role-player in reporting and preventing crime, but also along with other role-players, in taking co-responsibility for the rehabilitation and re-integration of the offender into society.” The authors go on to give a contextual framework for diversion, advocacy and re-integration as critical models that will involve various stakeholders in the corrections, especially the community corrections, system.
We are, therefore, encouraged by the presence of members of the public at this festival. We salute you for understanding, and taking action on, your responsibilities as citizens of this country. Working together, we can achieve total renewal for both the victim and the offender. Indeed, active and participatory rehabilitation of offenders will guarantee a safe and peaceful South Africa, poised for growth and prosperity.
In conclusion, with the 2012 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations commencing on Monday (22 October), we want to wish our inmates writing their Grade 12 examinations every success in their efforts to empower, and improve, their lives. One thousand eight hundred and seventy three (1,873) offenders are currently studying towards Grade 12. During the past six years, Correctional Centre Schools such as Usethubeni Youth School at Westville in Durban have been achieving an above 90% average matric pass rate. We are looking forward to a 100% matric pass rate.
We also want to wish those inmates studying towards other qualifications well in their exams. One thousand and forty nine offenders are studying towards post-matric/higher education and training qualifications, 4,042 towards further education and training (FET) college programmes (including electrical engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and marketing) and 3,853 towards skills development programmes (including basic business skills training and entrepreneurship).
From next year (2013), it will be compulsory for every inmate to complete Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) level 1 to 4. We are working towards turning our prisons into schools, and we want offenders to read, read, read, study, study, study and work, work, work. Key to rehabilitation is empowering offenders to have skills to function effectively in society on their release but, equally important, is to ensure that offenders are actively involved in productive activity while they serve their sentences. We want to see offenders proudly contributing to their self-care.
As government, we are passionate about galvanising understanding, and support, for our transformative agenda from prisons to corrections, and preparing those of our offenders who need to get ready to be reintegrated as functional members of society. The emphasis of Correctional Services is on correction, and all of us can be corrected.
Finally, let’s make this a day to remember.
Issued by: Department of Correctional Services
19 Oct 2012
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