- Mnelis was convicted at the age of 17 and finished matric in prison
- Years after being released, he furthered his studies and obtained a MA degree in Marketing
- He is now an assistant lecturer and student advisor and Mangosuthu University of Technology
Despite the odds being stacked against him, a reformed felon from KwaMashu used his time in prison to complete his schooling and upon release, has become an assistant lecturer and inspiration for other convicts.
Although the purpose of prison is to rehabilitate inmates, it is not always the case, as the flawed and overloaded system inadvertently perpetuates criminality and violence. Nevertheless, Mnelisi Xaba who was imprisoned at the young age of 17, was determined not to let his past determine his future and made sure he left prison a better man.
Mnelisi was imprisoned for two years for housebreaking and completed his matric year at Usethubeni School in Westville Prison in prison in 2009.
He was released a year later.
After working for a few years, Mnelisi continued to follow his dream of furthering his education and studied towards a diploma in Marketing from the Mangosuthu University of Technology which he completed cum laude.
He then completed a B-Tech from Durban University of Technology.
That wasn’t the end of the road for the reformed convict, and the dedicated learner continued studying until he obtained his Masters degree in Marketing.
At the age of 28, Mnelisi continues to prove himself and is employed as an assistant lecturer at his alma mata, MUT.
Mnelisi says that dedicating his life to getting an education has kept him on the straight and narrow, and away from gang activity while in prison.
As a student advisor, he is able to connect with young people from diverse backgrounds and encourages them to work hard to achieve their dreams, regardless of where they come from.
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