Day 22: Letter to my childhood self (from a prison cell).

Dear younger Ivor,

I’m sorry it has taken me this long to write to you. I’ve been meaning to write to you for ages but things got in the way. And by things, I mean life. I’m writing to you from the loneliest place in prison: Solitary Confinement Tank 7, B-Section, Drankenstein Juvenile Maximum Prison.

This has been my home for the last 18 months, and will be for another three. You have to be 18 years old to be in the bigger cells, and I’m not quite there yet. The bright side is, here or there, my prison sentence is moving, and hopefully in 3 years I’ll be out. Also, I have time to think, write, read, exercise- all things that I know you like as well. Isn’t it strange how life often forces you back to some of the things you once loved? You’ll learn that.

You will discover that life is the most adventurous experience in the universe, if you let it. My hope would be for you to not let a moment slip by that you don’t tap into that experience, and be fully present in it. It’s taking a 6×4 room and 23 hours a day of being home with myself, to appreciate the present moment.


Anyway, I know you’re going through a really difficult time, especially now that you’ve realized that it’s actually NOT normal to NOT have a father. I wouldn’t blame you. None of your friends have fathers either. This missing father disease isn’t getting any better hey. No less than half the guys here grew up without fathers. Jonty, my friend here, says, “God is just a beast in the belly of an insecure sadist…”. At least your dad died, and didn’t abandon you like Fransie, Chikas, Berto, and the others’ dads. I know it doesn’t lessen the pain, but you should really stop teasing them with that classic comeback of , “your dad went to buy cake and got lost in Frankie’s mom’s cake”. It’s inappropriate and also hurtful.

Hurt. Something you will learn a great deal of. Not because you deserve it, but because you’re human. It’s inevitable, especially when you feel so much. You are known for feeling a little more than others. You always look at the world from the side of the stars. I remember you climbing that stupid shadeless tree in the yard, to get onto the roof, and you’d just lay there for hours at night, hoping you’d fall asleep and your mom would send out a rescue team for you.

Oh, how we all want to be rescued; to be searched for; to be found; to be held and promised.

One day you’re going to learn about the gangs in prison. DON’T FALL FOR IT. They promise power they do not have themselves. Besides, what is power without freedom anyway? I fell for their seduction. Only the weak accept power in exchange for their need to belong. I was weak bro, but what does a 16-year old know about the strength of swimming against the tide?

You need to learn to forgive your brother. I tell you now, if you don’t learn the process of forgiving early on in your life, it’s a poison that will eat through your heart. He’s hurting you because he hasn’t learn how to deal with his own pain. What a foolish thing it is for the human race to want healing like two-minute noodles.

Most of us are here because we wanted microwave solutions to our pain and suffering. Like Jonty, who murdered his girlfriend for cheating on him. Like Turtle, who hijacked a group of tourists and threw them off a high cliff. Like Capone who was sentenced to 50 years for gang shootings in the Cape Flats. Pain is a bastard, I tell you. It can make monsters out of the most noblest of men.

But young one, take heart. I have to go. They’re bringing my meal and coming to take my belt and shoelaces in a couple minutes, so I don’t kill myself. Which I won’t do cos I think I might have a real shot at a second chance in life hey.

Remember, the world owes you nothing, just as the world belongs to no one. Whatever you want in life, go after it, and claim it for yourself.

Hang in there. Rescue is possible.

I hope to meet you someday. I believe you will make it. Your world will change.

Carpe diem,

Your older self.





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