When young people find themselves enmeshed in crime, the impact on their families can be far reaching with much soul searching among the parents who sometimes feel failing to handle their parental burdens contributed to the wayward behaviour of their offspring.
Such has been the case with convicted robber, Blessing Ncube, who made an impassioned plea to B-Metro in July this year to reach out to his parents on his behalf.
In his own words the prisoner said: “The only thing that I am asking from you as B-Metro news crew is to visit my parents in Magwegwe suburb and tell them that I said I am sorry for everything that I did. I know God is going to bless you because I really want to be reconnected to my family and you are my only hope on that issue.
“I am now a changed man and I now know the difference between the good and the bad, the right and the wrong. l need my family to give me another chance,” he said then.
In true messenger fashion, and in a bid to bridge the gap between the offender and community, B-Metro this week visited Blessing’s parents. Ncube (30) is serving a 46 months jail term at Bulawayo Prison for robbery.
The crime was committed along Bulawayo- Victoria Falls Road.
Ncube, who requested our visit, felt it was time he fixed relationship with his parents, who were still trying to come to terms with his robbery exploits.
Using the details provided by the inmate, a B-Metro news team managed to locate his parents in Old Magwegwe and had an opportunity to talk his father, Cornelius Ncube.
The prisoner’s father said he was still trying to come to terms with the fact that his son was in prison for robbery.
“I welcome you to my home guys and I am happy that you have visited us to try and mend my relations with my son who disappointed me a lot. Like any other parent, it is normal to be a disappointed person but I hope with time it will learn to live with it.
“Looking at the situation now, a lot of people will never believe that Blessing was raised on Christian teachings. As the head of the family, I made sure that all my children were baptised under a church called Twelve Apostolic Church,” he said.
Ncube said while his son was still attending church his mother fell seriously ill and this forced him to drop out of school as he could no longer afford to pay his school fees due to mounting medical bills he was trying to settle at that time.
“Like any other parent I have been trying to analyse the reason that could have forced my son to be a robber. From my close analysis, I suspect that my failure to pay his school fees might have had a serious input to this whole situation.
“I suspect this issue because currently, the economic situation is very bad. It requires people who are educated to get jobs to be able to take good care of themselves and their children,” he said.
Ncube said soon after dropping out of school, his son started selling different wares in their community as a way of raising funds that were required to clear his mother’s medical bills.
“When Blessing dropped out of school, he started selling different wares while children of his age were going to school. The funds that were raised from selling were channelled towards clearing his mother’s medical bills. Little did I know that I was exposing my son to the wrong environment.
“During that time, I thought I was preparing my son to have a better future as he had dropped out of school,” he said.
Ncube said they later managed to clear his wife’s medical bills after four years and immediately after Blessing moved out of the family house as he was already married.
This move saw the young man being in charge of his own life and by so doing, he apparently got exposed to a lot of bad friends, who later introduced him to crime.
“I think you will understand that my boy got married early as he had dropped out of school and at the same time, he got exposed to fast cash as he was into selling as his source of raising money.
“Soon after clearing the medical bills of his mother, he moved out of the family house and that’s when things got out of hand.
“On the day in question, Blessing actually visited us and it was around 7pm and we had a lengthy discussion. After that he left going home and little did we know that he was planning to go out for a robbery with his friends,” he said.
Ncube said according to the information they got from their daughter-in-law, when Blessing got home, he received a call from his friend telling him that they would be coming to collect him in the next hour.
The guys promised his wife that they would be coming back the same night but they never came back.
Ncube said they learnt the next day around midday that Blessing and his friends had been ambushed by the police as they were robbing a shop owner along Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road.
He still feels he needs to talk to his son about this episode.
“As a parent, I intend to sit down with my son when he completes his jail term as I would like to talk to him about this whole issue. As we speak, we are really supporting him a lot. Last week his mother visited him with some basics that he requires in prison.
“As a family we have forgiven him and to avoid that from recurring I believe we are going to sit down and talk as these young boys believe there is a short cut to success. What they don’t realise is that we the parents are the ones left to suffer because of their actions.”
He has another year of waiting before he can deliver the “hair-raiser” as his son might only be released from prison in October next year.
“The two kids that you see over there are Blessing’s children and they were brought here by their mother after she secured a job in town. Right now, they stay with us here as their mother now stays near her workplace in Makokoba suburb,” said Ncube.
He said the actions of his son had a serious impact on his children as the elder one now knew that her father was in prison and that could affect her psychologically.
“At the moment we are not working so we are getting help from well-wishers to take good care of these children as their mother’s salary can’t cater for all their needs on a daily basis.
“Blessing’s first born usually asks a lot of questions when we watch Another Chance, a programme that is shown on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Television and from the discussion you can tell that this young soul is really disturbed.
“As a parent that really hurts me a lot and with that in mind, I now feel it’s high time these boys act responsibly as some of their actions have far reaching consequences,”he said.
Nokuthula Ndlovu, mother to the inmate, promised to support her son and his children who are in serious need of her support in different ways as what happened might have been by mistake.
“I know my son very well. He is not as aggressive as what you might think. Instead, he is an understanding young man who still needs proper guidance for him to be a responsible father,” she said.