When 17-year-old Nhlakanipho Mpofana was found guilty of attempted murder and sent to a correctional facility, he thought his life was over. But he managed to turn himself, and his life, around and became the facility's top student.
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Nhlakanipho Mpofana admits he was an angry young man when he entered the KZN correctional facility in 2016. He says he was lost and didn't want to do anything.
However, his time behind bars changed him for the better, and now he is proudly the top performing student at the facility.
He earned three distinctions after studying very hard - something he didn't think he'd end up doing.
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According to a report by News24, Nhlakanipho says it was pressure from the wrong friends that sent him down the wrong road.
There was a lot of pressure on me from my friends. I was mixed up in the wrong crowd and the way I used to think was not good.
After his conviction, he thought his life was completely over.
It was just too much. I just knew that I was at my lowest. I did not have hope and I felt like nothing could be done for me.
That all changed when he found out about the matric programme in Westville Prison. After becoming a student, he had to adapt to a strict routine, but he managed to do it.
It was not always easy. We would leave the facility in the morning around 08:00 and would return by 15:00. I would then have to cope with our schedule in jail before tending to my work. I even went for additional classes from 16:00 to 17:00. I would also speak to other inmates and ask them for help in areas I was not sure of.
Now Nhlakanipho wants to spread knowledge and hopes to go in the teaching direction.
I want to get to teaching as soon as possible. I want to spread knowledge. Academics has done so much for me. I want to be able to do that for others. I just want to keep studying now.
21-year-old Nhlakanipho has 3 months left of his sentence.
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