Larry Joe voluntarily turned himself in to police in South Africa, then found music in prison. He's turned his life around and now preaches against drugs and gangs.
Courtesy of Jonx Pillemer/Douglas Correctional CentER/QCT Music
Cape Town, South Africa
Some people get a second chance, a pause in life to turn off the bad influences and walk in a better direction. Larry Joe's second chance came one warm February morning in 2008 at the funeral of his grandfather.
Larry Joe had spent the last seven years of his life as a fugitive, a drug addict, and a gang member in the Cape Flats, a rough-and-tumble part of Cape Town, South Africa. He knew that police would be watching for him at his grandfather's funeral in his hometown of Douglas in Northern Cape Province.
The knowledge that he shouldn't attend his grandfather's last rites ate away at his conscience.
"It made me not comfortable, being a fugitive," recalls Larry Joe, sipping a tea at a cafe in Cape Town one recent morning. He attended the funeral and wasn't arrested, but he'd had enough. He went to a lawyer. He turned himself in to the police.
As he took responsibility for a burglary he'd committed years before, he found himself taking control of his life.
"I realized, if I'm not going to do this now, I'm not going to have a better life," he says.
On Feb. 11, 2008, he was sentenced to 5-1/2 years in prison.
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