Incarceration Nations Network hosts 2nd edition of the Global Freedom Fellowship in South Africa

INN: In March 2024, the 2nd Annual Global Freedom Fellowship, organized by Incarceration Nations Network, brought together 16 formerly incarcerated fellows from 13 countries for a life-changing experience of healing, knowledge-sharing and transnational solidarity in South Africa. Highlights of their two weeks included a private tour of the iconic Robben Island, where they walked the same grounds as South African leader Nelson Mandela, and visits to two prisons in Cape Town, where they offered words of encouragement and support to those currently incarcerated, echoing Mandela’s spirit of struggle and triumph.

The fellows hosted a public-facing event in Cape Town to mark the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s Democracy and spent time at the workplaces of all four 2023 Global Freedom Fellows. In Johannesburg they attended the Human Rights Festival, explored historic Soweto and were granted a rare, intimate tour of Nelson Mandela’s personal archives with the head of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Madiba’s personal archivist and friend Verne Harris.

During “Solution Sessions,” Fellows shared about their work and fostered enduring alliances. They eagerly await the transformative outcomes of their exchanges, having schemed up innovative transnational partnerships to advance the global pursuit of abolishing mass carceral systems across borders.

In a celebration marked by unity and resilience, the 2024 Global Freedom Fellowship came to a close with a Farewell Reception hosted by the Global Freedom Fellows themselves. The formerly incarcerated leaders gathered at the iconic Nelson Mandela Foundation for an evening of reflection and camaraderie. The event, held on the last day of the fellowship, was hosted by actor and TV personality Christopher Jaftha.

Each Global Freedom Fellow had the opportunity to share his or her personal journey and insights gained during the fellowship. Among them was Nicholas Khan from Trinidad & Tobago, who moved the audience with his original poem “Life is like South Africa’s Load-shedding.” The poem served as a poignant reminder of the perseverance demonstrated by individuals striving for freedom and justice.

The Farewell Reception drew a high-profile crowd of actors, activists, filmmakers and creatives, all coming together in solidarity and embodying the spirit of unity and collective action championed by the Global Freedom Fellowship. The closing of the 2024 Fellowship marks not an end but a new beginning in our ongoing pursuit of global freedom and justice. As the Fellows flew long hours home, crisscrossing the globe, they carried with them renewed determination and solidarity, their collective impact reverberating far beyond the walls of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and igniting change in communities worldwide.

We count down to the GFF online reunions, both virtual and in person, across the globe. Watch our channels for more on these, including a robust post-GFF workshop series in partnership with The Opportunity Agenda and, and an upcoming webinar series featuring both cohorts of Fellows in collaboration with the Petey Greene program.

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WhatsApp Image 2024-03-16 at 04.47.04 - João Barbosa
24 May, 2024
Type of Update:
Updates from our Partners
Recent Events
South Africa
Campaign Partners:
Incarceration Nations Network

The Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status is a coalition of organisations from across the world that advocate for the repeal of laws that target people based on poverty, status or for their activism.


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