…He has crossed over from death to New life – John 5:24

‘My grandmother raised me with good values and good morals, principles I apply today, but never applied while growing up’

When Hilton was younger he visited both his mother and father in prison..Little did he know his life would reflect the same outcome after his grandmother’s death. ‘’Me and my grandmother was really close, I confided in her” ‘when I moved in with my dad, we just didn’t get along’ ‘I got involved with gangsterism and was a high ranking member in prison gang”

Hilton says he used drugs from the age 12 , that’s over 29 years of drug abuse. By the time Hilton served 6 years in prison for crimes, he began contemplating his life choices and did a course on restorative justice. This course meant Hilton was to meet with one of his victims, show remorse and apologise for crimes committed.  Hilton makes mention of one specific encounter where he had to apologise to a lady for house breaking and theft. Hilton says ‘I told her how sorry I am, and told her my life story and she was able to forgive me’ Hilton says to this day, they still have a relationship and she continues to encourage him till this day. 

Hilton says when he got out of prison, he still thanks God he didn’t immediately go back into the community he was from. He made mention that many places where blacklisted for parolees because the communities they came from were far more enticing to slip back into old friendship circles and habits. Hilton says he thought about his teenage boys and that he needed to be an example to them..a father figure to them so he went to stay at a shelter.

‘I was criminally minded’ ‘I wasn’t used to structure, peace and quiet..it was hard for me. I wanted to leave, but something kept me..’

Hilton says his social worker asked him if he’d like to join the U-turn programme and he said “U-turn? My chommies used to call me U-turn when I was younger and my grandmother would say ‘this is not U-turn this is Hilton!’ 

After assessments were done, Hilton joined the Phase 2 Rehabilitation programme and stayed at Loaves and fishes shelter. On his training days he would work at the Claremont service centre, namely Powerhouse. He says ‘I was rough around the edges, coming with that prison mentality of ‘don’t tell me I’m Ndoda!’ Yet these people helped me along the way’. Hilton’s Mentor at the time then encouraged him to use the principles of leadership and submission from high ranking gangsterism, in a manner that was honourable.

Now Hilton is on the Phase3 work-readiness programme, exit stage and has graduated with a level 2 Business Administration diploma from Siyaya skills institution. After 29 years, Hilton’s life has turned around. Hilton is now sober, employed and independent.  

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to New life.