From being a gang leader to a free man, arguably Namibia's most renowned inmate, Ninja, is released from prison.

This is after 25 years locked inside the Windhoek Correctional Facility.

Having completed his sentence for murder, Paulus Shimweefeleni commended staff at the Windhoek correctional facility for helping him become the changed man he claims to have become.

Accompanied by correctional officers, Shimweefeleni could not contain his emotions as he took his first steps outside of prison.

As he relates his plans, his emotions range from relief to gratitude to apprehension.

"Any schools that have learners misbehaving should contact me so that I can talk to them. I do not want any Namibian child to do what I did back then; in fact, they should know that crime does not pay. The only payment you get from crime is what I spent here, but thanks to the correctional facility, I am a true man now."

Shimweefeleni says that, despite the limitations of prison life, he seized every opportunity to educate himself, acquiring new skills and knowledge that would ultimately shape his future.

"Get involved in activities and pick up skills like I did in plumbing levels 1, 2, and 3. The correctional facility does not stop people when they want to study, and family members should also come visit; it is a very big encouragement for them to change."

Shimweefeleni says he seeks to give back to society and make a positive impact on those around him.

He is pleading for the nation's forgiveness and acceptance.

Asked about the most significant lessons he learned during his time incarcerated, Ninja notes the importance of accountability and responsibility, which he says is the proper approach to the consequences of one's actions.



Maria Kaalushu