Sifiso Jonathan Dube from Meadowlands Zone 4, in Soweto, south of Johannesburg, is making up for his past criminal life through his welding business, which he operates at his home, Westside Eldos reports.
Dube was arrested in 2006 for housebreaking and served a six-year sentence, which he put to good use while in jail.
“I saw a need to do something in prison in order to be a better person when I get released. I was offered a welding training course in prison which I accepted because I loved it,” said Dube.
Dube finished the course and received the Boksburg Certificate Achievement in Welding in 2010. According to Dube, after being released from prison, he did not start immediately with his dream of opening his own business because he had no capital.
“I had no money to buy tools and start my own business, therefore I went to work for another person and saved enough to buy the tools that I needed, of which I then started alone my business, which grew, and I hired other people as my way of giving back,” he said.
Dube said: “Starting a business with a history of crime is not easy because people tend to be critical about your work and find it hard to trust you, some of them assumed that I will run away with their money.”
According to Dube, attaining the welding certificate has changed his life because he is no longer involved in crime and has the goal to do well and teach other people as well.
“The youth must stay away from criminal activities and drugs because life inside bars is not easy.”
Dube said they did train some of the youth from the area, with the intention of motivating them to do something better with their lives.
Prison not only offered Dube a welding certificate, but it also taught him how to manage anger and minimise aggression, which he applies in his business to avoid returning to violence when dealing with difficult customers.
“The training taught me a lot about being patient and calm.
“Sometimes you encounter clients who don’t want to pay because of this training. I do not force them to pay, as I know that eventually they will pay,” he said.
One of the people who work with Dube on a daily basis, Sipho Mangethe Zwane, said he was grateful to Dube for teaching him the skill of welding because now he is able to do most of the work on his own.
“Even though I do not have the certificate yet, I am very confident of the skills that I learnt in my time working with him.”
According to Dube, his future plan is to grow the business and teach more youth about welding trough by offering both theory and practical classes.
Dube said that it was also important for the youth to go to college first if they wanted to start their own businesses in order to be more equipped about the rules and laws of having a successful business.
Dube’s business (JDS steel work) focuses on anything that has to do with steel, such as gates, carports, Burglar gates, fence, poles and paving to name a few. “Prison has made me a better person.”
– Caxton News Service