My biggest victory today is that I have finally come up with a title that will work for my story. “oMama beziboshwa” (mothers of inmates). I felt excited even when I said the title because the ICCVs that I’ve spoken to said their inmates saw them as mothers regardless of their age.
Finding a headline is like getting an epitomy…Image sourced from Google Images
These women are there not only as “watchdogs” but in their maternal capacity especially to those whose families want nothing to do with them.
The exact quote “mama weziboshwa” was reiterated by two ICCVs on seperate occasions. The first time I heard the phrase was during my first interview with one of my ICCVs, who said the inmates she helped called her that which was striking to me – heart warming. She works with many hardened criminals who despite what they’ve done, still feel the need for maternal love.
It’s not that these women have dubbed themselves as mothers to these men but that their work speaks for them. The passion with which they do their work is what earned them this title despite the challenges they face working in such hardened environments.
What I also found interesting was that their personalities were of a ‘soft’ nature (I say this without sounding condescending). Although I was a little nervous when I first sat down to speak to them, I didn’t feel as intimidated by them as I thought I would nor was I overwhelmed by a type of power I assumed they had because of the type of work they do.
Although they have important jobs that also require that they have an authoritarian approach, they were patient with me and availed themselves to assist wherever they could despite the fact that the first time they knew about me was when I was introduced to them by Mr Mentoor, just before the meeting started.
One of the ICCVs I met with yesterday agreed to have me film her journey throughout her day. So I will get footage of her while she gets ready for work and follow her until she gets to work.
She has asked me not to film her face for protection of her identity which is something I have accepted. So thursday morning I will go to her home in Pimville and take a trip with her to work.
Today I also finally got a hold of Moipone from Fear Free Life who has directed me to Lebo Kekae (0786498042) who deals communications. Lebo has promised to find me an inmate who may be able to speak to me about his experience with ICCVs while he was incarcerated.
I also called Khulisa and was told to call again tomorrow morning when the relevant person (Yvonne Ncube) would be available.
I called Nechama’s contact who is a former inmate, Vusi Kweyama (0723571185), and his phone was off so I left him a voice message and will call him again tomorrow.
Carolyn has also given the contact details for former inspecting judge of the JICS.
I just remembered a phrase that I’ve heard many people say for years: “too much of anything is bad for you”… It seems highly appropriate with the bulk of information I have received at this point. Despite this however, I’m optimistic…