Being condemned to serving a sentence in a correctional facility is not the end of the road; it is rather a bend in the road.

This became a reality today upon the release of Dr. Agrrey Makendano and Rodwell Sihela from the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility.

Dr. Makendano and Sihela both served 24 years in custody in connection with the 1999 violent attempts to secede the Caprivi from Namibia.
The two men, who were met by family members and friends at the gates of the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility after having completed all release formalities, were in custody for 16 years, awaiting trial, before being sentenced to an effective 8 years in jail for their part in the violent insurrection in 1999.

When they were arrested, Dr. Makendano was 32 years old, and in May, he celebrated his 56th birthday.

But in his own words, Dr. Makendano did not take it lying down; instead, he took his fate into his own hands.

When he entered the correctional facility upon his conviction, he was already a first-degree holder, having graduated in the humanities and social sciences from UNAM in 1998.
He humbled himself and devoted his time in jail to his self-development, completing four degrees, including his doctorate in management, in two years with the University of South Africa.

Dr. Makendano has published several research articles in international journals, while his book on "The Mixed Method in Research" is due to be released imminently. 

Dr. Makendano is now finalizing his second doctorate in sociology.

During his imprisonment, he lost his mother and three siblings, and he is now itching to return home to visit their final resting places.

Dr. Makendano says life in the correctional facility was not easy, but self-discipline and commitment were key to his success.

For Rodwell Sihela, the taste of freedom is sweet, and his feet are itching to go home to the Zambezi.

He served his time, and in his presence, you could sense an urgency and a sense of purpose.

For Dr. Makendana, who is well-respected, and as we witnessed correctional officers coming to say good-bye, it rings true: respect goes both ways, and what goes around comes around.



Peter Denk