Franklin Esau turned his life around from one of crime, manipulation, and selfishness to his life today of kindness, openness, and understanding. He talks with Telana about his upbringing in gangs in the infamous area known as the Ghetto, or Elsies River, just outside Cape Town, and his time in prison and what led to him to making new choices. They discuss emotions, decision making, values and making good choices.  This is an inspiring 2 part story of change, from gangster to facilitator.

Part 2 of this episode is here.

The training and manual that Franklin refers to as part of his transformation was written by Karina Anderson, from Episode 3.






How to turn your life around, from Gangster to FacilitatorFranklin Esau was born in Atlantis, a small place just outside of Cape Town in 1984 in the month of March. He grew up like any other boy from the Cape Flats, in a place called Elsies River with his mother and father, along with two sisters. He was the oldest child. His mother and father, who both did not complete school, made their way in the world as factory workers.

Franklin grew up in the infamous grey flats of Elsies River known as the Ghetto, where life is not easy for a boy who finds circumstances highly challenging. Areas like Elsies River are classed by the government as high-risk areas, saturated with crime, drugs and gangsterism.

Franklin being the only son of his mother was told from an early age by her to stay away from gangsterism or else she would kill him herself. He decided not to be part of gangsterism but discovered years later that he was no different to your typical gangster on the Cape Flats. He was involved in house-breaking, drugs, robbery and even hijacking as a form of getting money from an early stage when he discovered in his youth that his mother and father could not afford the things that he would wish to have in life as a kid. Little did he know that his desire to dress like celebrities was about to set him on a whole different journey.

He became involved in drugs, alcohol and crime which made him fail at school. Soon after he found himself in rehabilitation. But it was not the end. Early 2000 he found himself in jail for a crime of Robbery with Aggravated Circumstances with two of his closest friends. While being in jail for a period of 5 years 6 months during trial, he was sentenced with 13 years of which he then served 4 years 2 months. While in prison he joined the prison gangs and life became all about surviving in prison.

In 2009 he met SmilingOne and the programme called ‘The Responsible Individual‘ and took his life from gangster to facilitator. With his release from prison he chose to plant the seed of positivity in his community by guiding the youth in music and giving support to parolees who are released from prison.

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