South Africa: The Ropes That Tied the Future and the Present - Young People's Reflections On the Meaning of Sacrifice


On Youth Day, members of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation Youth Clubs engaged with like-minded young people interested in making a difference within their communities. On a tour to the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre, once known as Pretoria Central, they discussed the feelings it invoked.

Our tour kicked off at the chapel where families once gathered to say their final goodbyes to their loved ones. What struck me was hearing how the families were not allowed to see the deceased, who would only be identified by a name tag, and were sent to paupers' graves. One can only imagine the feelings of grief and disbelief that engulfed these families.

Then, quietly walking up the 52 steps to the gallows literally gave me shivers and made my heart pound fast. It felt like I was going to be executed myself. I could only imagine how terrified the actual prisoners were or what their thoughts were as they walked quietly to their sad and final destination.

The feedback room was the scariest for me because that's when we saw the actual structure that was used to hang their bodies. It felt so real when the prison warder began explaining how the actual...

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