A visit to Mawelawela Correctional Centre

by Babe Khoza

On Saturday 14th July 2018 exactly according to plan B of our Annual Plan, Twenty Eight members of the St. Joseph Parish Sacred Heart Sodality undertook a spiritual visit to His Majesty’s Correctional Services at Mawelawela Female Correctional Centre. The members of our Sodality travelled individually and in groups using the available public modes of transport. Fr Mbongiseni Shabangu from St. John Bosco (following a request by Fr Joseph W. Dlamini) and Sister Stephania Ngwenya from Ekululameni accompanied the members to Mawelawela. We were warmly welcomed by the Chaplain responsible for the Correctional Centre and the Senior Management of the institution. The Programme that had been prepared by the Sodality was as follows:

1. Arrival and registration
2. Opening with prayer – Chaplain
3. Welcome remarks – Deputy Officer in Charge
4. Remarks and Introductions – Chairpeson Sacred Heart Sodality
5. Service – Rev Fr Mbongiseni Shabangu
6. Testimonials by Inmates and followed by Sacred Heart Members.
7. Words of encouragement and Distribution of Presents – Sr. Stephania Ngwenya

It was a beautiful event all in all and the reception from the inmates was amazing!
Fr Mbongiseni encouraged the inmates to stand tall and be proud of themselves that they were brave enough to admit their guilt. He said for them to be here was not designed by them, but God Himself, since now they have all received the Grace of meeting Him in their person and that they have seen His amazing and unconditional Love. He continued and said they must refuse to relate themselves as dust because of finding themselves here, for now they are now God fearing citizens which infact makes them the Special Children of God.

Sr Stephania Ngwenya told the inmates that at St Joseph Mission there is a different form of rehabilitation centre; commonly known as ‘Ekululameni’ …where those who are not able bodied like us are taught to be able to stand up and be counted as productive human beings once again. She continued to say Mawelawela is not different from Ekululameni, in that when they first came to the Correctional Centre they were despised and looked down upon but will come out of this place as productive God fearing human beings once again..
She then on behalf of the Sodality distributed the presents that the Sodality had brought for them.

The Presents
1. Soup – 230 items
2. Face towels – 230 items
3. Colgate – 230 items
4. Toothbrushes – 230
5. Vaseline – 230
6. Sanitory materials
7. Green bar Soap
8. Other items that cannot be recalled at the time of writing this report.
Children Items (13 babies)
1. 39 nappies
2. 39 baby soaps
3. 39 baby clothing
4. 39 Perfumed baby vaseline
5. A large quantity of baby clothing from the package that the Bishop gave to the Parish Priest to distribute to the Unfortunate people.
Closing prayer and Benediction was done by Fr Mbongiseni Shabangu.

Some few things that were noted during the visit were that:

  • The inmates were well versed with our Catholic songs…i.e. songs from the song book and the general songs of worship that we sing in our Church.
  • The Inmates were well versed with our Catholic prayers…and responses…such as ..’ akadvunyiswe Jesu Kristu…Livi laba Yinyama’ etc.

This visit was an eye opener and a very spiritually fulfilling one.
We will visit again in July 2019!