All young Majalle Majalle wanted was to become a police officer when he grew up—only for his dream to be shattered when he found himself in Maseru Central Prison after being convicted of rape in 2002.
Majalle was found guilty of raping his girlfriend and sentenced to 10 years behind bars, but only served slightly below seven years due to good behaviour.
According to Majalle, there was bad blood between his girlfriend’s family and his own, and claims this was why he ended up in jail “because I had done nothing wrong”.
“My girlfriend’s uncle found us in a compromising position and later became a state witness in my trial. We were both over 18 years of age at the time, but through pressure from her family, the girl agreed that I had raped her although the sex was consensual.”
Majalle, who grew up in Nazareth Ha Pholoane, on Wednesday told the Sunday Express that life in jail was “very stressful as warders would take us out once in a while; all we did was to idle in the prison”.
Now still struggling to piece his life together six years after leaving prison, Majalle narrated his worst moment in custody when a fellow inmate put dagga in his pocket after they had delivered food parcels to Police Headquarters.
“It was a painful moment for me,” Majalle recalls. “When we returned to Maseru Central Prison, I was searched and the guards found dagga on me, which I did not know anything about. I literally fought for my innocence, but was still tortured by the warders despite pleading my innocence.
“Afterwards, the inmate who had put me in trouble admitted it was his dagga and explained how it ended up in my pocket.”
Asked about the regrets he has about being locked up, Majalle told the Sunday Express: “It was actually a blessing in disguise since I learnt plumbing and welding while I was in prison. The other thing I have to make clear is that I bear no grudge against anyone about my imprisonment.”
Slowly but surely, Majalle has been reintegrating into society since his release from prison in 2008.
“It was a struggle to be accepted into society after being in jail for six years and eight months as some of the time was taken off due to good behaviour, like I said earlier on. And for more than six years after coming out of prison, I struggled to make ends meet but my breakthrough finally came early this year when I won a tender to cook food for students at Nazareth Primary School.
“There are six of us cooking food at the school; I serve more than 100 kids every weekday under the school-feeding scheme. The food is supplied by the government and our role is simply to cook and serve it to the learners.”
Even though his monthly income is not enough to cater for his everyday needs, Majalle says he is grateful for the chance he was given “as half a loaf is better than nothing”.
“I get about M4 000 a month, which is not much but makes sure I don’t depend on anyone else for my survival.”
After prison, Majalle fell in love and tied the knot with ‘Matseko in 2009.
“I explained everything to her; she knows about my rape-conviction but understood and accepted my history.”
As to how he relates to his former girlfriend, Majalle said: “We greet each other if we happen to meet; she is now a police officer and based in Thaba-Tseka. There are no hard feelings between us.”
Crime Prevention, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Ex–Offenders Association President Mothobi Mothobi told the Sunday Express that Majalle was a good example of someone who had “changed”.
“I know him from prison; he found me in there. I would motivate him to do well and he showed a lot of determination to succeed.
“All he needs is support from society and government. With Majalle now doing catering, I think it would be beneficial if he could also utilise the plumbing and welding skills he acquired while in prison.
“It is difficult to reintegrate into society after such an experience but Majalle has shown that it is still possible to live a normal life again after one has served a prison term.”
Meanwhile, Majalle said his focus now is to acquire a driver’s licence and also use the skills he learnt while in prison to help less-privileged members of society.
He continued: “I would also like to have my own house, and by the end of the year, get a driver’s licence and a job. A good-paying job would help me buy the plumbing and welding machinery I need to start my own business.”
Majalle cautioned those in jail to obey prison rules “as that may help in reducing one’s sentence due to good behaviour.
“And to those who have not committed crime, I urge you not to and those who are doing it but have not been arrested, to stop immediately.”