Armed robber turns new leaf
As a man who has now sobered up, Nathane said his past embarrasses him and shows remorse for the pain he caused so many people.
Prior to his conviction, Nathane had been arrested twice for armed robbery and was granted bail, only to resume his criminal acts as he was convinced the justice system had no teeth to bite.
While out on bail, Nathane said he felt the justice system understood his nature and went on the rampage, flouting some of his own rules about being cautious in some of his heists.
He believes the justice system’s delay to grind, to a certain extent, also let him down by not stopping him and his gang before they could do much harm that led to the death of three people.
The fact that they seemed to get away with their criminal acts made them bolder and greedier, he added.
“When we started, we were happy to get away with M40,000, but as time went on, we went for the big jobs that offered us more money. We improved our strategies and started working with people close to places we targeted to rob.”
Sometimes, a girlfriend or a neighbour working at a supermarket or wholesale came in handy and would provide information in return for part of the spoils.
“I remember we once hit one shop and got away with M200,000 after we were tipped about the money by our member’s girlfriend,” Nathane said.
The same strategy was improved from time to time and applied in executing other “big-paying jobs”.
It, however, took spending time in prison for Nathane to realise when his life took a dangerous turn onto a dark path of crime. At the age of 16 years, he dropped out of school in Maseru, after getting into a fight that left him with stab wounds.
“My parents had planned that I should transfer to another school, but this did not happen because I got mixed-up with bad boys and started stealing. I refused to go back to school and that really broke my
I would also want to start a family and make sure none of my children will fall into the same trap as I did
Nathane said his family did not understand what had motivated him to choose crime as he had lacked nothing in his life. In the end, tired of explaining himself, he decided to move out of his family home and rented his own apartment.
“I thought by staying alone, I would be free and become a master of my destiny. I thought one day, I would get so rich from my criminal activities. How wrong I was and stupid. I never realised that my imprisonment started when I refused to go to school. By rejecting education, I turned down decency, freedom and empowerment to live with a clear conscience. I denied myself true happiness and chose dagga, which provided false security.”
Nathane said he has now turned a new leaf, and thanks to life in prison, he can now see clearly.
And after a five-year battle with himself in prison, he decided to do the right thing — going back to school. He passed his Cambridge Overseas School Certificate (COSC) examinations in 2012 and has been waiting for an opportunity to train as an electrical engineer at the Lerotholi Polytechnic.
“I have expressed my interest to further my studies but have not been successful. I would like to be a free man indeed, by doing an honest job when I finally get out of prison.
“I would also want to start a family and make sure none of my children will fall into the same trap as I did,” he said.
In an interview recently, the Lesotho Correctional Service Acting Commissioner, Thabang Mothephu, said while a good number of inmates serving long sentences, such as Nathane, had completed and passed their secondary school education while in jail, they could not get assistance to proceed to tertiary education.
“We need to help the inmates through various empowerment programmes so that when they are released from our facilities, they will be able to start income-generating projects or get employed,” Act Commissioner Mothepu said.
He called upon development partners to support the establishment of capacity building institutions within the correctional facilities, to make it easy for the inmates to continue studying beyond COSC.
Currently, the LCS has partnered with a Non-governmental Organisation, GROWER, which has helped in providing some teachers working at the Juvenile Training Centre.