When Eric Mogalabone thinks back to the day, nearly seven years ago, when he was involved in committing armed robbery, he only experiences deep regret.
Having been in prison for the past six and a half years has been nothing but hell for him. “Circumstances are tough in jail, it is no joke and despite that I never thought I would miss my family that much,” Mogalabone said last Thursday during Polokwane Correctional Services’ Family Day which formed part of the institution’s Heritage Day celebrations.
“If I only knew the consequences, I would never have done it. Even though I see my family every weekend, it is not enough to see my children and grandchild grow up and not being part of their lives,” he said. He looks forward to next June when he will be considered for parole after serving nearly half of his 15 year sentence.
Prison is described as ‘n rehabilitation process and to this Magalabone said: “You only start appreciating the small things in life when you land behind bars. When you don’t have access to the simplest things in life, only then you realise your mistake. Even though Correctional Services do their best to rehabilitate inmates and provide ample opportunities to prove yourself, it remains a place where criminals are locked up and removed from society. It is here where you realise the importance of family and that there are other ways to achieve than by committing crime.”
What he misses most is to spend time with his wife and two daughters and to play the role as grandfather to his granddaughter, Tumi Manamela.
The facility provided food on the premises in order for inmates and families to have some precious time with each other while the choir and traditional dancers provided some entertainment.
On Monday officials and offenders continued the celebrations by showcasing some of their traditional clothing and dances.
Story: RC Myburgh
Photo: Eric Mogalabone, serving 15 years for armed robbery, enjoys spending time with his granddaughter, Tumi Manamela. He misses family time the most while jailed.