Breaking New Ground

Blog written by one of our MEP Students:

On the 18th November a revolution was launched in Drakenstein Centre of Excellence. A group of young men (offenders) organised and initiated a public speaking competition, it’s the first ever in our prison. These men came up with a concept that was birthed out of the Message Entrepreneurship Programme (MEP). The concept was a public speaking 'mock' business called MEP talksMEP talks is aimed at helping young people realise their talents and harness their ability to become leaders in society.

This initiative took place in prison and was organised by MEP students with limited resources, who made use of the skills they obtained in MEP to mentor their fellow inmates. On the day of the MEP talks competition, we were ready to take on any challenge that was to come on our way. We planned for everything, from the venue to the number of offenders we wanted to host and we had a panel of judges organised to judge the speeches.

The day began with 2 worship songs which was performed by the MEP band (which is also a result of MEP) and after we prayed we gave a platform for a devotion from one of our fellow MEP students.

For the competition we had three speakers from MEP Talks who competed against each other. In selecting these specific speakers we believed their speeches were fitting for our audience.

This first initiative of MEP Talks was focused on new inmates who were transferred from Pollsmoor Prison. The reason for this was because many of the inmates are still caught up in gangsterism and smuggling, and nothing much has happened for them since they arrived at Drakenstien.

MEP talks saw an opportunity to reach out and bring inspirational and educational talks to our fellow inmates. Our goal was to liberate them from their toxic environment and give them a platform to take part in the competition. On the day the student who won the competition gave an outstanding speech called “Appreciation”.  In the future MEP talks is looking to expand our competition to the rest of the prison and impact more inmates throughout 2016. MEP talks are breaking new ground and we appreciate all the help we can get to achieve a bigger impact on Drakenstein Youth Centre.

Written By: MEP Student, Drakenstein Youth Centre

If you would like to know more about the MEP Talks initiative in Drakenstien please email