A herd of cattle are grazing near a dam while some men‚ dressed in orange overalls‚ tend to nearby vegetable gardens.
On the other side of the property‚ the stench of manure fills the air as a group of pregnant pigs and their young rest.
But this is not your average farm‚ and neither are the men in orange ordinary farm workers. They are prisoners‚ and this is Leeuwkop‚ a prison in the middle of the affluent suburb of Bryanston‚ Johannesburg. A place where some of the country’s most notorious prisoners‚ including Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir‚ are kept behind bars.
In a bid to change perceptions about prison life in South Africa‚ the department of correctional services opened the gates to the Maximum-C section of the prison this week.
Some have criticised the prison system for being a walk in the park for inmates‚ who receive free meals‚ medical care and education. Others believe the country’s prisons to be a breeding ground for criminals‚ where drugs and gang are common.
A tall barbed wire gate screeched as it slowly shut‚ leaving the group of journalists locked inside during a tour led by prison officials. A walk through the narrow‚ dark and winding passages – lined with cold burglar bars – led to an open courtyard with painted walls.
“We all receive forgiveness for our sins‚” reads one mural.