In prison, Themba was attentive to what really mattered
Apart from alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, Themba Malinga thought that there
was no real purpose to living except to take from others what makes you happy
— until he was sent to prison and realised what he was missing.
“I was lost in life, living without direction,” Themba admits.
“Before I was arrested, I was drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and
When he was arrested Themba could no longer do these things, so he became
interested in a better way of living.
“In 2006, I was arrested, and I awaited trial for two years, and then I
was given a 15 year sentence,” Themba recalls.
“In prison, I met some people who worship and praise God. I started to
think about Jesus Christ, whom they served, and I could see that I cannot live
without Christ in my life.”
Themba’s friends told him that God is the Creator of the universe and
all people, but mankind has rebelled, has sinned, against God and every
rebellious thing breaks God’s good commands. The Bible says, “The
penalty of sin is death”
(Romans 6, verse 23). However, God does not
desire that anyone should perish, so He sent Jesus, God the Son, to take the
penalty for man’s sins by dying on a cross, so that if anyone believes
in Him they are forgiven of their sin and receive eternal life.
“Through what they shared I realised I was tormented in my mind and
heart by bad thoughts and temptations,” Themba says.
Wanting to be free from sin and receive this eternal life in Jesus, one day he
asked Jesus to forgive him and declared that he believed Jesus paid the price
for His sin on the cross.
“I decided to receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour and my life
has changed,” Themba says enthusiastically. “I’ve got joy,
peace in the presence of the Lord. And I believe God will make things possible
for me, because the Bible says nothing is impossible to God.
“Because of God’s love and mercy He took all these troubles and
bad thoughts away. That’s when I realised that God wants to use me as
His child, not to give me material things, but to provide spiritual things,
like preaching the good news of Jesus to other people in prison.
“The Bible says in
2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17, ‘When you
are in Christ Jesus, you are a new creation.’
“So whatever difficulties or programs that comes into my life, my first
priority is God. I just ask God to help me and my brothers in Christ, and all
those who are troubled by the devil, because the devil, the enemy of God, is
like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Themba now enjoys being involved in the church in prison and telling others
“I like to tell people about Jesus wherever I go,” he says,
“because it is impossible for people to live without Christ in their
life. Christ is our source of life. There is no one like Him.
“The Bible says, ‘For God so loved the world that He sent His only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have
(John chapter 3, verse 16).
“I realise now that God used my time in prison to get me in His hand,
where I am glad to be!
“When I am released from prison, I am going to make an impact in
spreading the message of Jesus, and I have already started here on the inside.
I believe one day that inmates who are stubborn in their heart or mind will
one day, by the power of God and the Word of God, will touch them and they
will accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour like me.”
Themba says knowing Jesus has changed his life in many ways.
“I don’t have anger or stress, but
peace and joy. I am content that God will provide for all my needs.
“He says in His Word that whatever you ask for in His name, He will do
it (see John 14, verses 12-13).
“I am God’s child. I don’t have anybody to visit me, but
that does not worry me. I will be glad if I avoid deliberately rebelling
against God and I continually praise and thank God for His goodness to
“God always does good things for His children, and He protects everyone
who loves Him.”