Correspondent Special: Killers Don't Cry

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    • 00:37

      ALLAN LITTLE: This is the story of a dark and, until now,impenetrable secret.It is the story of a brave and at timesbreathtaking experiment in human nature.In this prison, a brutal and all powerful gang system reins.

    • 00:58

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: It is known as the Numbers.This is the story of an attempt to reachinto the hearts of evil men, to understand their depravity,and to try to change them.

    • 01:25

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: [Correspondent][Killers Don't Cry]Pollsmoor Maximum Security in Cape Town.After months of negotiation, we wereallowed to enter the secret world of the Numbers gangs.

    • 01:47

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: We are warned that the prison housesmass murderers, multiple rapists, and armed robbers.The gang system rewards violence.Only those willing to commit atrocity, to maim and murder,can rise to the top.Mogamet Benjamin has killed more people than he can remember.It has made him the highest-ranking gangster here.

    • 02:08

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: He's a general.

    • 02:09


    • 02:11

      INTERPRETER: In the camp of 28, a person's life is in my hands.The final decision is mine.There are people who I order killed, and they are killed.On my file, written in red, it says notorious, dangerous.[CHANTING]

    • 02:34

      ALLAN LITTLE: Most prisoners here are awaiting trial.It can take up to four years for a case to come to court.While they're here, the Numbers gangs can trap them for life.The gangs emerged as a way for black prisonersto defy the brutality of white rule.But South Africa is changing.

    • 02:54

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: Johnny Jansen is the first black man to head Maximum Security.He wants to break this legacy of violence.

    • 03:02


    • 03:05

      INTERPRETER: We must understand that because of this history,conflict is dealt with violently. [Johnny Jansen, Headof Maximum Security, Pollsmoor] The strongestlives the longest.And these people have no alternative but to use violenceto deal with conflict.

    • 03:19

      ALLAN LITTLE: The prison warders patrol the passages,but behind the steel doors, the territory belongs to the gangs.They have their own elaborate military hierarchies,their own laws, their own codes of conduct and punishment,and, until now, an unbreakable code of secrecy.

    • 03:42

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: [CHANTING]Mogamet has been in prison for 34 years.His appearance belies his record for multiple murdermade him a general, and his statusentitles him to a uniform.

    • 04:03


    • 04:05

      INTERPRETER: The ranks of our gangsand all we do is based on the military.The uniforms we wear today are all in our minds.I'm man of gold. [Mogamat Benjamin]Everything in me is gold.My rank is gold.My cap is gold.

    • 04:27

      INTERPRETER [continued]: The buckles on my boots are gold.Even my belt is gold.In other words, I am a blood officer.

    • 04:36

      ALLAN LITTLE: Mogamet lives in cell 191with 36 other prisoners.Pollsmoor is 300% overcrowded.The gang known as the 28 is the oldest gang of all.It was founded in 1906 as a revolt by 28 black prisoners.Members of the 28 live alongside two other gangs, the 26

    • 04:58

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: and the 27, crowded together in this one cramped room.In prison, the men of the 26 concentrate on theft.They rob and steal.The men of the 28 have sex with each other in the night.There's no doubt about who has absolute control.

    • 05:19

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN: I'm powerful and partly god.

    • 05:24

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN THROUGH INTERPRETER:Because I'm a general of the 28.Today, I believe that generals are made by God.

    • 05:44


    • 05:46

      INTERPRETER: There's no man in Pollsmoorwith a higher rank than me.I earned every rank by stabbing a warder.I'm prepared to take them all on even though I die.

    • 05:60

      ALLAN LITTLE: Mogamet's second in command Erefaan Jacobs.He holds the rank of judge in the 28s.His job is to enforce gang law and to punishthose who break it.He, too, has killed fellow inmates.

    • 06:13


    • 06:16

      INTERPRETER: When you join the gang,we develop you so that you're fearless.[Erefaan Jacobs] A lot of men are scared.But once you've attacked someone,you'll do it again and feel brave.You can only come into the camp by spilling blood.

    • 06:36

      ALLAN LITTLE: The gangs demand constant demonstrationsof loyalty.They cut the emblems of their allegiance into their skin.This is their uniform.It carries their rank.For in prison, a spoken oath is not sufficient.The Number demands that you be marked indelibly for life.

    • 07:01


    • 07:18

      ALLAN LITTLE: Some go further still and tattoo their faces.It is the absolute abandonment of all hope of a life outside.

    • 07:25


    • 07:27

      INTERPRETER: I made the tattoos because I wanted to be seen.Me?I'm a pig.You don't mess with me, man.The day I came to prison, I had a grudge against my mother.And I cut these words "I hate you, Mom, Idon't care" all over my face because I thoughtI'd never come out of prison.These are the things that made me join a gang.

    • 07:48

      INTERPRETER [continued]: And I made a family for myself herebecause these people cared.And now I'm with them.[CHATTER]

    • 08:03


    • 08:04

      INTERPRETER: We really love each other.I'm prepared to die for the next 28.And he's prepared to die for me.I'm prepared to commit murder for him.For my wife, I think twice.A woman, you flirt with her, maybebuy her a bunch of flowers.

    • 08:26

      INTERPRETER [continued]: But the 28 brother who you love, you will take blood for him.

    • 08:38

      ALLAN LITTLE: Mogamet showed us howto make a weapon from a prison-issued toothbrushand a blade smuggled from the prison hospital.

    • 08:46


    • 08:50

      INTERPRETER: With this weapon, I'mgoing to go for your neck or your eyes.It won't help to go for your head.I'll stab you in your eye.And when you grab your eye, I'll stab you in your neck.And then I stab you to death by cutting your artery.That's one way.This is one object, but two knives.

    • 09:11

      INTERPRETER [continued]: This way, I can attack more men at the same time.

    • 09:18


    • 09:19

      INTERPRETER: To take people out, to kill them,to stab with knives-- that's how we live in prison.If the warders give us grief, anything we don't agree with,we stab them.We take somebody out.

    • 09:35

      ALLAN LITTLE: The prison warders are the gang members'natural targets.They're only lightly armed with batons and tear gas canisters.They're underpaid and overworked.And they're outnumbered 100 to oneby the men of the Numbers gangs.

    • 09:53


    • 09:56

      INTERPRETER: Their power grows and grows.It feels as if they're taking over.It's not the warders who control the prison. [Barry Coetzee]The Numbers control the prison.They make the decisions.

    • 10:10

      ALLAN LITTLE: For their own protection,the warders spring surprise searches.One warder has been warned that hehas been selected as a target.Someone in the Numbers gangs has been ordered to stab BarryCoetzee as a test of courage.

    • 10:25


    • 10:27

      INTERPRETER: A Number's been calledon me, which means I'll be stabbed or cut with a blade.My blood has to flow.So it could mean either I die or I bleed.There's no way you can defend yourself.It's terrifying.

    • 10:47

      INTERPRETER [continued]: It's a psychological war.You never know where.You never know when.I'm scared to come to work, but I must to earn a salary.I get up in the morning and know sooner or later it will happen.

    • 11:06


    • 11:08

      INTERPRETER: We are like people hunting this person.Maybe we won't find him today, but then there'salways tomorrow.It's cruel, man.It's like a lion hunting down its prey,then ripping it apart.

    • 11:35

      ALLAN LITTLE: Nearly half the warders in Maximum Securityhave been stabbed at least once.The road to the Numbers gangs begins even before a newcomerarrives in prison in the back of the police truckthat brings him here.

    • 11:55

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: By the time they're strip searched,they've been drawn into the worldthe Numbers for many newcomers are forced to carry drugsor weapons inside their bodies.Some are raped.This brief mixing of old and new prisonersgives the hardened gang members a momentary chanceto scout for new recruits.

    • 12:21

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: Newcomers are known as birds.Gang members scan the reception area for new faces.Some of the birds they will rob and beat tonight.Others they will rape.One new recruit recalled his first encounterwith the Numbers.

    • 12:38


    • 12:41

      INTERPRETER: The first day I came here, they asked who I am.[Patrick Samuels] One of them said, hey,you're dressed beautifully.Give us your clothes.I told him, no, sir, my mother's money bought these.He shouted, don't talk shit to me.Since when are birds entitled to money or clothes?

    • 13:02

      INTERPRETER [continued]: By the time I left the truck, my pants and shoes were gone.

    • 13:09

      ALLAN LITTLE: And so the new recruitsmust submit to the law of the Number.And they must not show fear.

    • 13:15


    • 13:17

      INTERPRETER: Body language alone will tell youthat this thing's a wimp.I'm going to take everything from him.The way you speak, the way you stand, the way you look,the tone of your voice are all things we notice.When we rob you and you try to fight us,obviously, we'll overpower you.Either you'll be cut open with a blade or you'll be strangled

    • 13:39

      INTERPRETER [continued]: or we'll kick you to a pulp.

    • 13:43

      ALLAN LITTLE: The prison authoritiestry to stop recruitment for the Numbers gangs nowdominate every Maximum Security prison in South Africa.[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

    • 13:54

      ALLAN LITTLE: Members of the Numberare isolated from the other prisoners.The warders check for tattoos that betray gang loyalty.But as they're herded into the holding cells,some birds are slipped into the Numbers camp.

    • 14:15


    • 14:17

      INTERPRETER: That night, I couldn't sleep.I thought, hey, I'm not used to this.And I started crying.Outside, I heard them say the Numbers do things.I thought somebody is going to sneak up on me.

    • 14:28


    • 14:30

      INTERPRETER: We rob them.We murder them.We rape them.We do any negative thing to them to show them that I'm a 28 manand you will show respect.

    • 14:44

      ALLAN LITTLE: While the birds waitto be accepted into the Number, they become virtual slaves,performing all the household chores of the prison.

    • 14:54


    • 14:56

      INTERPRETER: A non-gangster is entitled to nothing.We, the six, sevens, and eights, we are entitled.It's the culture in the prison.

    • 15:15

      ALLAN LITTLE: For the Numbers controlevery aspect of life in these cells.They decide who will eat and who will not.There is an elaborate code for issuing favors and meeting outpunishments.The Numbers demand absolute obedience in everything,including in the 28 sex.

    • 15:37

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: At lock-up time, the warders retreatfrom the life of the prisoners.Behind the steel doors, the hours of darknessbelong unchallenged to the Numbers gangs

    • 15:57

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: and to their rituals of punishment and recruitment.Their codes are spoken in a language known onlyto them, a hybrid of all South Africa's tonguesthat can only be learned in prison.[CHATTER]

    • 16:17

      ALLAN LITTLE: This is the moment of initiationinto the secret all-embracing world of the Numbers,the moment the new recruits must pledge their oath to the gangs.An intricate and carefully balanced interplaybetween the gangs decides which camp a new recruit will enter.The gangs consider the commitment

    • 16:38

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: made at this moment sacred and lifelong.It has never been filmed before.For the birds, showing fear at this moment is disastrous.

    • 16:48


    • 16:53

      INTERPRETER: We don't have scared people in our camp.If you're scared, you could betray us.If we see you're scared, we'll kill you.It's happened.Many people's heads were cut off in cells where I was present.I'd say that tonight they would kill you.The whole day I know it.You talk to me, I'll laugh with you.

    • 17:15

      INTERPRETER [continued]: But I know tonight we'll kill you.

    • 17:22

      ALLAN LITTLE: This is no idle boastMogamet recalls taking part in the ritual murder of oneinmate the gangs didn't trust.

    • 17:30


    • 17:32

      INTERPRETER: I was naked so that the blood wouldn'tsplatter my clothes.I was the first to sever the artery.The heart was removed and eaten.I personally ate first.[YELLING]

    • 17:53

      ALLAN LITTLE: By the end of the Apartheid era,Pollsmoor was in a state of anarchy.The power of the Numbers gangs was unassailable.They ruled through violence, murder, and terror.

    • 18:10


    • 18:11

      INTERPRETER: The situation inside the prison was chaotic.[Johnny Jansen, Head of Maximum Security, Pollsmoor]It was very tense, so much so that the personnel weretoo scared to enter the prison.

    • 18:23

      ALLAN LITTLE: But South Africa was changing.Johnny Jansen wanted the prison to change along with it.

    • 18:31


    • 18:34

      INTERPRETER: This prison is one of the most overcrowdedin the country.It also has a very negative history of murder and assault.I decided to detain the gangsters separatelyand to identify a particular group of gangsters.

    • 18:58

      ALLAN LITTLE: Jansen did what none of his white predecessorshad dared to do.He met the gang leaders on their own territoryin full view of their subordinates.He wanted to replace the violence at the old prisonauthority with dialogue.[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

    • 19:15


    • 19:16

      INTERPRETER: They didn't trust mebecause it isn't part of their culture and history.There's never been just between gangsters and the personnel.

    • 19:25

      ALLAN LITTLE: This was to be the startof a radical new departure in South African prisonManagement.Jansen decided to reach out to South Africa's mosthardened killers to see if they could change.He brought in an expert in conflict resolution,but he warned her not to expect miracles.

    • 19:46

      JOANNA THOMAS: He told me many come through the doorspromising this and that.And they don't last.Some of them only last a day.I'd never been in a prison before.And as I walked down the corridor,the faces looking back at me, I saw my brother,my uncle, my friend.They looked no different.

    • 20:08

      JOANNA THOMAS [continued]: And I was very sad.I was struck by such a deep sadness.

    • 20:13

      ALLAN LITTLE: Joanna went straightto the heart of the Numbers system.To the men of the Number, she was an immediate threat.And they were hostile.

    • 20:20

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN: What we want is wewant to know what's going on.

    • 20:26


    • 20:27

      INTERPRETER: I was just curious to hear what she was doing.[Erefaan Jacobs] I participated not because I wanted to.I participated because I wanted to report to my 28 brothers,to tell them what was going on.

    • 20:45

      JOANNA THOMAS: I want just to go around and for you to tell usjust how you're feeling.I was informed that the prisoners had all [INAUDIBLE]the prison gangs.And I come in, talking about a different way.It can be seen as a threat to the prison Number system.And so when people see a leader showing

    • 21:07

      JOANNA THOMAS [continued]: interest in what I'm doing, then I'maccused of weakening the Number.So if you don't want to do this, and go onwith your normal thing, then we leave.So we can we carry on?

    • 21:21


    • 21:23

      INTERPRETER: That first night, I immediately thought,this woman wants to use me. [Mogamet Benjamin]She wants to use me to control the gangs for her benefit.I do not believe in that.I thought, no.All these years, they've been trying to use me inside prison.And I won't allow it.

    • 21:48

      ALLAN LITTLE: That night, locked in their cells,we watched as the men of the Numbers gangsexchanged their messages.They agree.Joanna is a threat.Among those most hostile to her is a senior member of the 26s.He holds the rank of fighting general.

    • 22:08


    • 22:10

      INTERPRETER: I first thought Joannahad come to kill the Number.And if you try to kill the Number, we must kill you first.[Thomas Ngolobe] In other words, itwas my duty in the Number to appointmy troops to stab her to death.

    • 22:25

      ALLAN LITTLE: Joanna had seen for herself how dangerousthe gangs could be.

    • 22:31

      JOANNA THOMAS: I've witnessed the stabbing.And the stabbings are mean.And they go for the face.And it's meant to scar.And it's meant to dismember.And it could be to kill.

    • 22:48


    • 22:51

      INTERPRETER: This Joanna had to be stabbed in here.I did everything in my power to stab her.But perhaps God was with her without her even knowing.

    • 23:02

      ALLAN LITTLE: In 191, the inmatesmeet to discuss Joanna and the threat she poses.Publicly they are loyal to the gang and its code of violence,but privately many see in Joanna a chance for change.

    • 23:16


    • 23:18

      INTERPRETER: The gangs inside prison will keep me here.Why?Because they need me.My wife and children want me outside because theyneed me there.

    • 23:28

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN: I can't be in two places at the same time.

    • 23:30

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN THROUGH INTERPRETER:Now it tears a man apart.I do not want to leave my gang brothers in the lurch.I do not want any of my children in the lurch.

    • 23:40

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN: I must make a choice.

    • 23:42

      ALLAN LITTLE: Joanna has invited them to take partin a series of workshops.They are about to embark on a journey into their own soulsand to confront the evil that has so dominated their lives.Thomas, the fighting general who had wanted Joanna killed,does not join them.But even he has begun to wonder.

    • 24:03


    • 24:05

      INTERPRETER: I got to know my own father here in the prison.He made me a 26.My little brother is also at 26 now.He wants to follow in my footsteps like I followedin my father's.

    • 24:24

      ALLAN LITTLE: They gather in an isolated cell on the prisonroof.This is the cell where Nelson Mandela washeld for six years, the place where he began negotiationswith the old Apartheid regime.

    • 24:37

      JOANNA THOMAS: This is an historic occasion.

    • 24:40

      ALLAN LITTLE: The symbolism of this is not lost on them.It is the room where South Africa itself began to change.Change is its purpose again.

    • 24:49

      JOANNA THOMAS: Welcome to the "Change Begins with Me" series.My role is to facilitate a processwhere we can share the wisdom, the knowledge,the experience that lies in this room.And so I want to encourage each of you to participate.

    • 25:08

      ALLAN LITTLE: Her appeal is that they should result conflictthrough dialogue, not violence.Their skepticism is universal.It is written in their faces.Most men here have killed in cold blood.Violence is the air they breathe.

    • 25:23

      JOANNA THOMAS: What is empathy?So we're going to go right into our exercise now.

    • 25:33

      ALLAN LITTLE: She encourages members of rival gangsto drop their guard and mingle indiscriminately.[CHATTER]

    • 25:38

      JOANNA THOMAS: OK, groups of five.[CHATTER][LAUGHTER]

    • 25:44

      JOANNA THOMAS: OK, keep moving.Keep moving.[CHATTER]

    • 25:50

      JOANNA THOMAS: Stay there.Stay there.Stay there.Have you all got a partner?OK, now that's your partner for the next exercise.

    • 26:02

      ALLAN LITTLE: Soon they are doing what they neverdid as children.It is about finding new ways to relate to one another.

    • 26:15

      JOANNA THOMAS: Most of them have notbeen taught the basics, like saying please and thank you.[Joanna Thomas, Centre for Conflict Resolution]Hello, excuse me, and pardon me-- that's not being taught.And those that have been taught, they'veforgotten about it due to the brainwashing of the gangsystem.

    • 26:34

      ALLAN LITTLE: In the courtyard below,there is suspicion about what Joanna is up to on the roof.Rumor is spreading.The 27s have refused to take part.

    • 26:46


    • 26:47

      INTERPRETER: You who give the Number awaymust be slaughtered.[Lyndon Bambo] Those people up therestill have a lot to learn about the Numberdespite who they are.They know what happens when you give the Number away to peoplewho are not inside the gangs.They die.That's it.The Number is like that.You don't give the Number away to any person you don't know.

    • 27:11

      INTERPRETER [continued]: That's all I will tell you.

    • 27:20

      ALLAN LITTLE: The threat is clear.Attending Joanna's workshop could get you killed.

    • 27:25


    • 27:28

      INTERPRETER: I'm scared, yes.Because the last law states that the day Italk about this thing, that day I will die.But I've made my decision.

    • 27:43

      ALLAN LITTLE: Thomas's mind is in turmoil.The news that his younger brother nowwants to join him in the 26s has badly shaken him.He is trapped in a terrible dilemma.

    • 27:54


    • 27:57

      INTERPRETER: There's a big war between the Number and change.If I tell you that I want to leave the Number,then I'll lose my head.How am I going to change if my head lies over thereand my body over there?Then I'm not going to change.I'll be buried.In other words, I want to change,but I also want to keep the Numberbecause the number is my life.

    • 28:21

      ALLAN LITTLE: Finally, Thomas seeks a meeting with Joanna.[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

    • 29:03

      JOANNA THOMAS: I admire this courage to admit [INAUDIBLE].And it actually inspired me to build a relationship with him.I think the risk was probably greater for him than for me.[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

    • 29:28

      ALLAN LITTLE: When the workshops resume,Thomas, the man who had wanted Joanna murdered, is won over.[OPERA MUSIC PLAYING]

    • 30:28


    • 30:42

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN: That kind of music,I do understand, although I don't understand the language.That kind of music calms me.[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

    • 31:21

      JOANNA THOMAS: It's to help us understand conflict.[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

    • 31:27

      JOANNA THOMAS: We press it down.We suppress it.Why do we do that?

    • 31:31

      MAN: We don't want other people to see it.

    • 31:32

      JOANNA THOMAS: We don't want other people to see.What else?

    • 31:35

      MAN: [INAUDIBLE] we are really scared.

    • 31:38

      JOANNA THOMAS: You scared?

    • 31:39

      MAN: And we are men.

    • 31:40

      JOANNA THOMAS: And you're men.Because you got that message from birth.You're a boy.And boys don't cry.And men don't cry.And gang members don't cry.And gang leaders don't cry.[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

    • 32:09

      ALLAN LITTLE: It is day seven.[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

    • 32:35

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: [APPLAUSE]

    • 33:03


    • 33:12

      MAN: When I was a little youngster,I saw how other people used to brag about their daddycatch them.And I never had an opportunity to share about my daddy.I wouldn't tell my daddy, Daddy, letme jump on you because my daddy never had time with it.So I didn't-- never experienced that life.

    • 33:32

      JOANNA THOMAS: You can stand there.And you can take a big leap.

    • 33:36

      MAN: What do you mean?Run and just jump?

    • 33:37

      MAN: Just jump.

    • 33:38

      MAN: OK, guys, I'm going to do this nowbecause I want to feel the way I never felt before.I've never been catched by people in my whole life.All right.I'm ready.[LAUGHTER][CHATTER]

    • 34:02

      MAN [continued]: [APPLAUSE]

    • 34:08

      MAN: It might look simple, but it'sgot a deep [INAUDIBLE] especially if you haven'tbeen through it, you know?Many times you hear people say, there's always a first time.It definitely was.It was the first time I've experienced this.And it makes, you know-- it's a relief.It's awesome.

    • 34:34

      ALLAN LITTLE: After lock-up, the menreturn to the cell to face their demons, drugaddiction among them.Erefaan's court case is approaching.The thought that he might be released from prisonterrifies him.The 28 gang is where he belongs.

    • 34:54


    • 34:57

      INTERPRETER: A lot of things about my family cluttermy brain when I think of it.To make that go away, I smoke a pipe, man.I put myself into a coma just so that it can go away.

    • 35:21

      ALLAN LITTLE: In the perversity of their world,prison has become normal.It is freedom that holds the terror.Joanna has asked them to keep a journalto try to describe their feelings.

    • 35:33


    • 35:35

      INTERPRETER: I'm an emotionally centered person.But how can I climb out of myself, stand to one side,and see the things I'm doing?In order to change, I must be honest with myself.

    • 35:58

      ALLAN LITTLE: After 10 days, the workshops are about to end.The inmates have been led into strange and unsettlingterritory.

    • 36:06

      JOANNA THOMAS: You often hear prisonerstalk about how they [INAUDIBLE] they'vebeen abused, marginalized, comingfrom very, very dysfunctional settings, broken homes.And so there's a lot of pain, hurt inside of them.And I really believe that capacity to feel very deeply,

    • 36:29

      JOANNA THOMAS [continued]: it's there.So one of my aims through the workshopsis to raise awareness of what's inside of us.There is a human being in that murderer, in that rapist.There is a human being.

    • 36:47

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN: For thine is the kingdom, the power,and the glory, forever and ever.Amen.

    • 36:52

      ALL: Amen

    • 36:55

      ALLAN LITTLE: The last day brings the greatest challenge,to force these hardened killers to look hard at whoand what they really are.[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

    • 37:14

      MAN: It was times in my life whenI hated the sun to come up because I was wanted.And it was times in my life I didn'tthe night to come because I didn't know there Iwas going to sleep, because it was hard on the pavements.And the thinking, hey, what is my mother doing now?[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

    • 38:01

      JOANNA THOMAS: Are you OK?Hey?

    • 38:04


    • 38:06

      INTERPRETER: I'm classified as the scum of the prison,a rubbish in prison.But in reality, deep inside, I'm a personthat can care for others.I'm someone who can respect another.But I have to suppress that.It can come out.If I show it, I'll be seen as a weakling.In prison, I don't want to be seen as a weakling.

    • 38:28

      INTERPRETER [continued]: I want to be seen as I read in books, a macho.[CHATTER]

    • 38:45


    • 38:47

      INTERPRETER: It's like a race. [Johnny Jansen, Head of MaximumSecurity, Pollsmoor].Everyone t come first.There's first, second, and third place.And then a whole bunch fall over the line.There'll be some who arrive late,but they'll be in the race.And, hopefully, they'll all eventually cross the line.

    • 39:06

      JOANNA THOMAS: I am not that naive to believethat one series of training workshopsis going to change a man who has been a gang member for mostof his life and who has committedhorrendous crimes, who is in the heart of the gang system.[Joanna Thomas, Centre for Conflict Resolution]But I see a struggle.And while that struggle is there, I will engage with it.

    • 39:30

      ALLAN LITTLE: Weeks later, Joannahas come back to Pollsmoor to try to assessthe impact she's made.[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

    • 39:56

      JOANNA THOMAS: Mogamet, you're not with us.Want to tell me what's happening with you?

    • 40:04

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN: Joanna, I'm feeling like idiotbecause I'm also follower.I follow other people.And I feel pain not in my heart, but in the gut.

    • 40:31

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN [continued]: And now I feel pain for all the painthat I've caused in other people's lives,

    • 40:55

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN [continued]: in my family's lives, and in my life, too.I'm a guy.I'm not scared of anything.But all those years, my actions was idiotic.

    • 41:21

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN [continued]: And I feel like an idiot because I was a follower.I never [INAUDIBLE] But the four years I spent here.

    • 41:44

      MOGAMET BENJAMIN [continued]: I'm like a boat in the sea and the sea getting rougherand rougher and rougher.I'm going with the sea.I can't help myself to get in the calm waters.And for now, that's all I'm going to say.

    • 42:15

      ALLAN LITTLE: As Erefaan's day in court approaches,the prospect of being released from prisonbegins to frighten him.He is so completely, so visibly a man of the Numbers gangs.Others prepare their court cases and hope for freedom,but not Erefaan.

    • 42:36


    • 42:37

      INTERPRETER: What am I going to do with my life?Do I go back to where I've come from?Or do I hold on to the things I've learned inside prison,like change is possible?This is a very heavy question for me.

    • 42:57

      ALLAN LITTLE: Like a condemned man,Erefaan is summoned from his cell at 5:00 in the morning.

    • 43:02

      GUARD: Erefaan Jacobs.[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

    • 43:06


    • 43:07

      INTERPRETER: When the court tells methat I'm innocent and free to go, it's a big risk on me.I'm prepared to tell the court that I'mguilty of a crime I didn't commit.I'm scared to go outside.

    • 43:27

      INTERPRETER [continued]: I was out there, and I came back.

    • 43:36

      ALLAN LITTLE: For 100 years, thishas been the secret of the Numbers power.It has so stained its members, so marks them apartfrom the world outside, that it hasleft them little choice but to returnto its inescapable embrace again and again.Erefaan is among the first to be shown

    • 43:58

      ALLAN LITTLE [continued]: that there may be another way.For more information on tonight's program,please visit our website at

Correspondent Special: Killers Don't Cry

View Segments Segment :


The Numbers gang in the Pollsmoor prison has a hierarchy based on violence; the people willing to commit atrocities lead the gang. The Numbers control activity within the prison; if anyone disobeys the gang he is killed. But when an expert in conflict resolution is brought in, the culture of violence is changed into a culture of trust.

Correspondent Special: Killers Don't Cry

The Numbers gang in the Pollsmoor prison has a hierarchy based on violence; the people willing to commit atrocities lead the gang. The Numbers control activity within the prison; if anyone disobeys the gang he is killed. But when an expert in conflict resolution is brought in, the culture of violence is changed into a culture of trust.

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