Convict defies the odds in jail

• Namcol prize for grade 10 achievement

20 July 2020 | Education



A convicted rapist serving time at the Elizabeth Nepemba Correctional Facility in the Kavango West Region has vowed to turn his life around after achieving outstanding results in last year's grade 10 examination.

Robson Sam Laboni (30) won a N$5 000 prize and a tablet from the Namibia College of Open Learning (Namcol) as one of the top performers in the 2019 grade 10 examination.

Laboni enrolled for five subjects, scoring three A symbols and two C symbols.

Laboni, originally from Ongwediva, has served four years of his 12-year sentence.

This year he has enrolled with Namcol for three grade 12 subjects.

Passion for farming

Laboni told the media that he is passionate about agriculture and wish to be part of the sector upon his release from custody.

“For long people only wanted to be accountants, lawyers and teachers but now with the current economic downturn, we need to invest time in agriculture,” Laboni remarked.

He believes that education is the key to success and calls on fellow inmates to take education seriously.

Institutional support

The Elizabeth Nepemba Correctional Facility's head of education, Senior Superintendent Rengi Phillemon, said supporting offenders is part of their mandate and that Laboni's success is a testimony to their efforts.

He emphasised that the main aim is to rehabilitate offenders so that they can lead productive lives once they are released from prison.

“We register them at Namcol with the assistance of their guardians and parents and then the government pays their examination fees. We help them with their assignments in terms of collecting them and handing them in at Namcol. We also go the extra mile to teach them,” he said.

However, teaching resources are limited, there is a shortage of tutors and a lack of motivation among offenders.

Phillemon therefore called on stakeholders to assist the facility with donations.

“Limitations only exist in our minds. Where there is life, there is education,” Phillemon said.