When it's OK to wear pajamas to work
"Hearing the word parolee, one would think, "Are we safe?"or "Oh I'm scared of these people", but I leave here knowing that these are ordinary people at the end of the day, who have made mistakes. Big ones, little ones. But they are mistakes." (Abby - UCT student) "I think that everyone was a bit anxious when we heard that we would be working with UCT students. Not knowing what to expect. When you hear UCT, you automatically think privilege, money, snobbery...so it was a case of not knowing how these "spoilt brats" would react to us as ex offenders." (Tracey - Member) Collaborating with the UCT students on the 2019 CTICC production, was a veritable eye opener on both sides. The students were being exposed to "hard-core" criminals and the Second Chance members were introduced to the privileged elite of Africa's top university. Needless to say, the tension in the opening minutes of the introductory session was tangible. Until the first break when 2 of the students took out their rolling papers and tobacco to make cigarettes. Haai shame man. They couldn't even afford real cigarettes like us. And maybe the outfits of some were not just a reflection of the poor dress sense of some whites. Maybe they didn't have anything else to wear. Because nobody would actually choose to wear striped pajama bottoms to a rehearsal. Would they? The ice was broken. Watching these students juggle their assignments, part-time jobs, other productions and still stay committed to our project, was inspirational. Whether they were privileged or not became secondary as we witnessed them working their hindlegs off to help turn our production into the success that it was. There was no us and them. We were a team with a common goal. Our mutual experience, that of the members and the students, was an important lesson in the negativity caused by stereotypes. Because it's a fact that when one only takes cognizance of the "label", one tends to forget about the importance of the content.