In every aspect of life we come across many challenges. They say life always gives us choices and it’s all up to you to choose which life you want to live. We live in a world filled with trauma, laughter, incidents, trials and tribulations and we each and every person experiences life in ways that can either build them up or destroy them.
Sometimes we do things with the intentions of not hurting others, but not everything we do always goes according to our plan. Many people, have hidden talents and others fail to show their talents. Take Jake Kekana for example, he was in jail serving his 10-year sentence. When you are newcomer in jail, things become harder for you because fellow inmates see you as a loner. They don’t care about the reason you’re there.

After being in prison for some time, Jake became friends with his cell mate. The two of them would sometimes lie on their backs and tell each other stories about their lives before prison. They would talk about their successes, the things they did, how they lived and their loved ones. In Jake’s fourth month in prison, the prison authorities created a church and school for its inmates. He then signed up for both of them when the set up was finished. As time went by Jake became more invested in going to church. This is where he realised his calling; he was to become a pastor. The other inmates didn’t take his decision to become a pastor seriously though. They mocked him and laughed at him, calling him a ‘sissy’ whenever he spoke about the bible.

He would sometimes go to bed hungry, because the big bosses in prison would take his food in order to force him to become aggressive or get involved in prison fights. Other prisoners would tease him about how he ended up in jail; they thought that he thought himself better than them. There was a pastor who used to visit them and give sermons, pastor Mokoena. He was so fond of Jake because of his good behavior and nature.

Jake was not one to make or start any trouble. After each sermon pastor Mokoena would sit and chat with him, he would also give Jake advice about life. Jake dreamed of becoming a motivational speaker, but being a student has always been something of a struggle for him. Even in his high school days before prison, he wanted to make a difference in people’s lives but got involved with the wrong friends.

Two years later, Jake was released on parole for good behavior. He was happy to be out of prison and at the possibility of a fresh start. His family was glad to have him back at home, they had visited him in prison before his release, and they knew that he was now a reformed man. He started going to church and found a job soon thereafter, it was nothing big but it was enough for him and his family -and enough to cover his mother’s medical bill. She fell ill when Jake was arrested, she was recovering from a stroke ever since but was critical.

Jake’s community was very judgmental towards him, he had done wrong and bad things in his past. They didn’t believe in his reformation, they believed that he was guilty and a bad person no matter his being released on parole. But he proved them wrong, two years after his release from prison, Jake built his own church where he married the mother of his soon to be born child. Pastor Kekana, as he is now known, is a motivational speaker with his own congregation. The saying is true: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, because you don’t know what the inside holds. You may never know until you go through the book and read every little detail in every page.