Press Releases
Press Releases

15 March 2022

David Julius Photograph

David Julius, a 43-year-old father of four from Piketberg in the Western Cape, was a victim of ongoing bullying that led him to a life of violence that eventually led him to prison, before turning his life around.

Describing a youth riddled with bullying, David recalled how his family tried to get help from the police to stop the abuse but that the intervention failed. The torment continued through high school until one day, enough was enough.

“I had learned that a very dear friend of mine was also being bullied. The fact that she was also going through it was enough for me.

“I decided to stand up for myself, so I beat my bully with a stick and I didn’t stop until I saw fear in him. That gave me a sense of satisfaction, a sense of power”.

This incident was the beginning of a life of violence that led David to gangsterism. In the years to come, he would use violence to exert power over people, despite having had numerous run-ins with the law.

Then, on 13 November 1998, David killed a man and was charged with murder, which was later changed to culpable homicide. In 2001, he went to Malmesbury prison, leaving behind his one-year-old son. It was while serving his sentence, isolated and alone, that David was introduced to NICRO.

“I learned is that I can resolve challenges without resorting to violence. I think God worked through NICRO to change me,” he said.

After going through the offender reintegration project with NICRO, and exhibiting a real behaviour change, David’s five-year sentence was reduced. He served 10 months in prison and was released on parole before receiving amnesty for his good behaviour.

“When I was released in 2002, I decided to never go back. It was a promise that I made to myself and to Mandi Jordaan*, the NICRO social worker who helped me change.

“When I returned to Piketberg, it was hard to win back the trust of the community.

“Knowing that I had been in prison, people thought that my marriage and my children wouldn’t make it. So, that motivated me to try harder and do better than even I thought was possible”, He said.

David began working with at-risk youths when he joined the Piketberg Performing Arts Community Group, along with the current Mayor of Piketberg, Raynold Van Rooy. That’s where he found a platform for his story. Using drama, he helped steer young people away from behaviour, that could lead them to break the law.

Eventually, David was invited to be trained as a volunteer facilitator for NICRO.

“We would focus on youth in conflict with the law, including children who committed any act of violence. We would engage with them and monitor them over eight weekly sessions.

“The parents were involved and I made sure that the children saw that I also faced what they face. That way, I won their trust.

“Over time, I was able to help parents guide their children to make positive changes”, David shared.

Of David’s time with the Piketberg Performing Arts Community Group, Mayor Van Rooy said that “David really made a success of it, he kept kids off the street. His input made an impact in the lives of the youth”, before going on to share how David impacted the mayor’s daughter for the better.

“My daughter was part of David’s youth group at church. After his class, there was a real change in her. She began getting more involved in church activities. It was because of David’s input, and I’m happy with the person she is because of it,” he said.

David’s story is one of hope and inspiration. It shows that people can change under the right circumstances, and grow towards becoming positive role models and constructive members of society.