Phoenix Peer Facilitators – Facilitators who are themselves serving prisoners – have played a crucially important role over the years in the life of the organization. They have recruited groups and performed a range of special tasks in addtion to facilitating Phoenix programmes.
Phoenix must of course give Peer Facititators themselves utmost support: this covers several aspects, from the mundane like keeping up a constant supply of stationery, to the more complex tasks such as developing their skills as facilitators.
Evelyn Cresswell, poet, philosopher and educationst, has been at the forefront of supportive activity for Peer Facilitators.
Funkie Zungu as Peer Facilitator has run almost all aspects of Phoenix programmes, in addition to performing in “Voice Beyond the Walls” radio dramas. He has been assiduous in pursuing his own university studies. He also has the utmost support of his mum and dad; his mum is a nurse and his dad is a recently retired long-term employee of Foskor in Richards Bay. They visit him regularly.
Funkie and Evelyn
We heard today, Sunday 5th February, that Evelyn has suffered injury when she slipped on ice while visiting her family in Canada. We wish Evelyn speedy healing of her fractured leg. Get well, Evelyn, and come back to Zululand soon.
5th March: Evelyn arived back in Zululand last week. Welcome back Evelyn, and we hope your leg continues to heal well.
Non & the team
Funkie and the photographs:
Nonceba & Richard spent a pleasant afternoon in the prison with Funkie reviewing his work and the challenges we have in offering him constant support as a Peer Facilitator. One subject touched on was that of publishing a picture of him in prison uniform, as we have done above in this post. Ordinarily, on this web site we do not mention the the names of prisoners or the the prisons where they are serving sentences, and always pixelate faces so personal identity is obscured. As Funkie said, it is is hard to openly face the full glare of publicity about your status as a prisoner. He described how much thought his peers give to facing people in the future when there is widespread public knowledge of their past as offenders with prison records. A particular anxiety concens how one is to face that inevitable question in a job application or interview “do you have a criminal record?”
However, in the exchange of ideas that afternoon with Funkie, we agreed that there will be ways for him to speak of his own past, including that of having spent some years in prison, in a way that both emboldens him and shows that he owns all aspects of his life to positive and creative effect.
[Notes by Nonceba]
Funkie and Nonceba, Director of Phoenix Zululand