How One Man Brought Peace to South Africa
THEY CALL THIS MAN ‘MR. HAPPINESS’
Growing up in Apartheid South Africa, Eugene Mahalba was surrounded by violence and injustice from an early age and grew up in the extreme militant arm of the antiapartheid movement. By the time he was 18, he was abusing drugs and alcohol and immersed in a life of crime. In 2004, he landed in the Waterval Maximum Security prison with a 12-year sentence for armed robbery.
But rather than punishment, Mahalba says he found freedom in prison. Soon after he was incarcerated he discovered The Way to Happiness. “When I read this book,” he says, “I found that something touched my heart, inspired me, and I started from there.”
Mahalba found the answer to why he had turned to a life of crime, and he wanted others to have the opportunity to find that for themselves too. As he and 24 inmates progressed through a course conducted by a volunteer from The Way to Happiness Foundation, their change in attitude and behavior was immediately observable. “I saw the 21 precepts of The Way to Happiness as the means of achieving true rehabilitation, not just ‘doing time,’” he said.
Mahalba underwent training and soon was delivering the program himself. He pushed one inmate serving an 18-year sentence who had sunk into despair to do The Way to Happiness course, and the man came back to life. By the end of his sentence, he had earned a college degree and became a teacher. After delivering the program to 200 more inmates, the results were so remarkable and visible, Mahalba was offered early parole—the first ever granted by the prison.
“WHEN I READ THIS BOOK, I FOUND THAT SOMETHING TOUCHED MY HEART, INSPIRED ME, AND I STARTED FROM THERE.”
In 2010, Mahalba returned to his home in KwaZulu-Natal to begin his new life instilling young people with the moral values of The Way to Happiness. First was a 12th-grade class rife with drugs, violence and a high pregnancy rate. Teaching the 21 precepts, the violence began to dissolve. By the end of the year, test scores had risen 38 percent and violence dropped to zero. The Department of Education immediately authorized Mahalba to deliver the program in all 400 schools of Umzinyathi District, where students named him “Mr. Happiness.”
After training 200 police officers and broadcasting the 21 precepts to 8 million listeners on Zulu National Radio, Mahalba returned to where it all began for him. After delivering an impassioned presentation on The Way to Happiness to nearly 1,000 inmates of Glencoe Medium Security Prison and implementing the program, violence plummeted in the cell blocks and prison yards. Mahalba went to every prison in the district, inspiring 10,000 inmates to find their own way with The Way to Happiness.
Now Mr. Happiness has set his sights on the rest of South Africa to continue spreading The Way to Happiness.
BRINGING NEW LIFE TO A REGION
Crime stats drop in Veracruz after distribution of The Way to Happiness
The Way to Happiness team in Veracruz, Mexico, delivered lectures to more than 21,000 people, distributed over 80,000 booklets, and reached 2 million through television—and 11 million more saw The Way to Happiness PSAs. Following the campaign, crime statistics dropped dramatically.
HELPING OTHERS FIND THE WAY TO HAPPINESS
The Way to Happiness Foundation International works to reverse the moral decay of society by restoring trust and honesty through widespread distribution of the 21 precepts. Donations support production and distribution of The Way to Happiness booklet and curriculum material.