When I observed these prisoners, I was curious to know how they ended up there in the first place. What did they do to land in their spot in prison? These ‘Bras behind bars’ have their own story to tell. Each introducing a piece of themselves and revealing the true judgement behind their imprisoned cover. I will first start with the main chick who calls herself Killer. A 32-year old female, who shows characteristics of aggression.

Killer: “As you’ll soon see, I’m the one in control of this prison. Ek se hoe, ek se wanneer en ek se of dit gaan gebeur. They call me Killer! (laughs). Jy dink seker hoe het ek daai naam gekry ne? Ek was mos my eie merchant gewees. Ek het goodies verkoop soos tik, ganja en mandrax. Jy! Maar my speciality was my dagga muffins. Daai koekies het mos verkoop jong. ‘n Bietjie lag hier en ‘n bietjie giggle daar. My business het lekker smooth geloop, tot ek my customers op skuld begin gee. Toe begin die moeiligheid! Sy naam was Nongi. Hy was’n goeie customer ne, maar hy kan net nie sy skuld betaal nie. Dit het my kwaad gemaak man! Toe gaan ek personally na hom toe om my geld te collect. Sy china bodyguard het nogals voor hom gestaan. Die guard wil nogals vir my karate! Ek het mos nie tyd vir modern style fighting nie, because time is money. Toe vat ek my gun en skiet vir daai Jackie Chan wanabee! Kaba! kaba! Toe vir Nongi. Kaba! kaba! ba! ba! Toe is hulle altwee vrek. So, don’t take on skuld with the Killer if you can’t pay your way”.

The term ‘Gatjie’ is usually defined as somebody who loves to gossip and knows everybody’s business, but this Gatjie that is about to tell her story redefined the term. She makes it her business to steal everything inside or out. Gatjie is a 25-year old female and a mother of two young boys.

Gatjie: “They call me Gatjie because I have been in and out of this jail gatchie. My profession is shoplifting. My very first mission started with clothing. I shopped in stores like Mr Price, Ackerman’s, Pep and then I thought I should upgrade a little, so I went to Sports Scene – mistake! I never knew their security guards were so sharp. That was the end of my shoplifting spree, well when it came to clothing anyway. My next and I think final mission was food. Oooh, I love food! I’ve done shopping at Winners, Pick ‘n pay and Shoprite and then I decided to upgrade a little, so I went to Woolworths – mistake! It was Christmas Eve so I wanted a turkey. I went down the aisle to the turkey section and hid the bag of turkey in my shorts and then started walking. Suddenly one of the security guards approached me. My heart started to beat faster.

He asked me: “Are you okay?”

I said “What do you mean?”

“There is blood dripping down your legs”.

I realised that the turkey was defrosting in my shorts and told him: “Oh no, it’s that time of the month, man, you know the red robot!” I immediately walked towards the exit and all I heard was tieeeeeeeeet, the alarms! Now I am here again! You can get away with anything ninety-nine times, but the hundredth time, they will catch you”.

The others include Kerry who was imprisoned for picking up illegal freebies. She believed the saying “Optellens is houens”; Malas who killed her husband Johnny because she claimed he abused her verbally, physically and mentally; Laila who was arrested for assaulting a citizen during a night out at the popular club, Tiffany’s. Mandy and Sandy, the prostitutes, who not only sold themselves for a round of pleasure but had to include drugs too and, unfortunately, sold it to the wrong customers, the cops!

These are only some of the stories that have been revealed, but there are many more. There are some who want to tell their stories or the prisoners feel too judged to tell theirs, but I believe there is always a story for a Bra behind the bar … that intern reveals the undercover judgment of a book.