Team for new prison radio show visits Joburg


The team: Kabelo Keogatile, Vusi Mthombeni and Richard Maphokwane (photo by: Kyla Herrmannsen)

Richard Maphokwane is a thin, muscular man. He has a tight, twisty beard and has an incredible sense of calm. When you speak to him he will drift with ease between sincere pathos (on ways one can turn anger into happiness) to describing a bloody razorblade prison self-mutilation. 

He is a third of “Jail Break”, a new radio show developed by Thetha FM and Wits Justice Project which will be targeted directly at inmates, ex-inmates and their families. His co-presenters are Kabelo Keogatile and Vusi Mthombeni.

The show will bring presenters and producers from community radio station Thetha FM in Orange Farm to Joburg. They’ll get in the production studio at Voice of Wits and chat with members of The Department of Correctional Services, Legal Aid, the NPA and The Justice Inspectorate on all the issues inmates need addressing.

Thetha FM has been broadcasting their prison show “Prisoners’ Corner” since 2009. “Jail Break” will form a new segment on their existing afternoon show. “Prisoners’ Corner” became the centre of nationwide news coverage in January last year when inmates at Groenpunt Prison in Deneysville in the northern Free State rioted and phoned the presenters of the show to give their demands. “The inmates wouldn’t speak to the warders, but they’d speak to us,” said Keogatile.

Now, the guys want to take the show forward: across the country, into jails over their PA systems, in to other community stations. They want every prison in the country to have access to the show (in some form). WJP is going to help them take the first few steps in this direction by introducing top-draw guests and lively debate of some important issues.

WJP has had a prosperous collaboration with Thetha FM working on The Wits Justice Show since last year April and we are excited to bring our connections with justice stakeholders and The Wits Radio Academy to beef up the existing prison show by adding “Jail Break”.

“Prisoners’ Corner” runs on Saturdays at 12 – 3pm on Thetha FM (100.6).

Follow the progress of “Jail Break” on this blog.

Also happening in WJP’s radio department:

On the podcast this week – The JMPD and by-laws

On the podcast this week Wayne Minnaar from the JMPD gives some answers on what the organization can and can’t do for our city. This interview was broadcast on Alex FM last year as part of The Wits Justice Show on Alex FM. Listen here.

A new podcast from WJP is up every Friday. To subscribe to the podcast in the shiny iTunes store go here.

Record Breaking: studio chat

Bricks Mokolo of the Orange Farm Human Rights Advice Centre came into the studio at Thetha FM on Tuesday and talked criminal records. “There is a problem in this community with people not understanding how damaging a criminal record can be,” he said. He has been a guest on The Wits Justice Show several times and has seen over the years many people acquire criminal records and then not know how to shake them.

The Wits Justice Show is on Thetha FM every Tuesday at 1.30pm.

For a back catalogue of our best shows from Thetha FM on-line visit us on soundcloud here.

For a video on Bricks Mokolo and paralegals in South Africa: here.


About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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