Gayton McKenzie inspires Eric Edelstein with “The Choice”

On friday morning at the V&A Waterfront, after watching the movie “Perfect Stranger” (which I haven’t blogged about, but is worth catching), my JHB friends Ilana & Lara, wanted to do some shopping at woolworths.
Within 5 minutes I was bored, and told them I’d meet them at CNA. While browsing the magazines, my eye caught a book. I’m not sure if it was the picture on the cover of a prisoner, or the gold sticker which said “Signed by the Author”, but I picked it up, and saw it had been signed personally by the author.
“It’s never to late! GMC”
I don’t know what prompted me to buy “The Choice - the Gayton McKenzie Story”, as i’ve got a long list of books on my shelf waiting to be read, but some voice deep inside me told me that I needed to read it.
When I met the girls a few minutes later with my purchase, I could only tell them that the author had spelt the word “too” incorrectly. I also had a jarring feeling that I was contributing to a criminal by buying his autobiography.
Often books lie around my place for years on end, and some have never been read, but I started the Gayton McKenzie story immediately, and a few days later, I’ve finished the book, but realised that the challenge is only just beginning.
For those that don’t know who Gayton McKenzie is, he was a hardened criminal who continued his ways in Gaol, and then turned his life around, exposed the corruption in the prisons, and now spends his time motivating kids to try keep them out of crime.
You can see more about Gayton at the Gayton McKenzie website.
Gayton, what you did was remarkable, and I look forward to meeting you.
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Tags: out & about
20 responses so far ↓
1 Max Kaizen // May 2, 2007 at 8:53 am
WOW!! thanks for the discovery EE ..great brand-sponsorship with Chubb. I’d love to meet him.
2 Brian Wells // Oct 3, 2008 at 12:03 pm
I would like to know how to get in contact with Gayton. I have published my first book and now going to finish my second book and 3rd book. I am the founder of Brian Wells Writers Book Club. I will be hosting an awards day and I would like to have Gayton there as one of my private guests. I would like you to just give Gayton my website. He will know why. Thanks
3 olga maloka // Dec 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm
I want to speak to Gayton . please help me to get his conduct details
4 Vulani // Jan 20, 2009 at 2:49 pm
I would like to know more about Gayton’s publishing company. I am writing my first book and I was wondering if he cannot assist in getting it published.
5 Earl Smiles // Jan 29, 2009 at 10:20 am
Hi Eric, after reading your review of Gayton I was wondering if I could send you my book to read entitled pursuit for happiness by Earl Smiles. This book is based on my own life story. The difference is i am not public figure but I do think I have story to tell. If interested please forward me you mail so that I may send you a copy.
6 Muuz Ngcolosi // Apr 27, 2009 at 9:22 pm
Gayton. You are such an inspiration. I listen to your talk at the IFA function at Emperors Palace. Also listen to you in one talk show in SA FM. I was telling my wife that it easy to say to people “you can do it”. Many people say that, but when you say it, its like it has a different meaning. It has a pragmatic feel it. Well Done!!
7 Pritima Osman // Apr 28, 2009 at 2:03 pm
i would like to get in touch with Gayton McKenzie. please pass on my email address.Thanks
8 KARABO // May 27, 2009 at 12:03 pm
Hi ya’ll, im such a big fan of the legendary GAYTON MCKHENZIE. When he came to our school in 2007 and i was doing grade 11, his story realy touched me, thinking that a guy like him uses to be engaged in crime and he never really gived a bull about things surrounding him. anyway i wish you can come to the UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG and give us the children of the future what we really have to get which is guidence and the benefit of the doubt that not to do things that will never get you any where but 6 feet undre or doing time. Id like to say thanks GAYTON for being such an insipiration in my life and on this coming tuesday Ill be doing a presentation on my hero which is ofcos you. and agaun thank you and keep up the good and mavelous work. Love Karabo Masemola
9 Debra Vercueil // Jul 28, 2009 at 11:22 am
I last emailled Gayton about a year ago and would like to get in touch with him again regarding a promise he made .Please pass on my email address .Thanks
10 rodney nxumalo // Jul 28, 2009 at 12:57 pm
Hello GaytonI recently read your book “the choice’ and it was such a good read. I related to your story-line based on the things that took place in your life. I live in the rural areas where to most people it looks like there is no crime at all. I know most people who are trapped in the high life of crime but after reading the book I realised most had not seen enough. As a ex-policeman I related to the things that took place in prison and I would agreed that the good men will always be projected as the worse ones, the corrupt one. I hope you are still motivating not only people who are involved in crime, but the public in general.Let’s hope the movie about your life is coming soon, and please it should start at cinemas and not on the street.
Hope to be in touch soon.You inspire a lot.Rodney NxumaloKZN- Margate
11 Eric // Aug 20, 2009 at 11:28 pm
heya everyone. unfortunately i can’t help with all the requests for Gayton’s contact details - I don’t know him personally, i just enjoyed reading his book - that’s why i wrote about it.
12 Gideon // Aug 24, 2009 at 12:45 pm
Gayton your book is fantastic..Charles Cilliers has done a good job on you…I am The HOD of Life Orientation In One of the so called Juvinnile Schools in Cullinan near Pretoria.
The School is Housed inside the Premises of the Dep of Social Services… Please please please make time and visit School. your Presence will be Highly Appreciated..
I aslo think that your Book should be Modified if Possible be Prescribed in High School as part of Literature.
Your Book has so much weight that it can no longer afford the luxury of posing in books stores in the Malls…it should go where it is supposed to go..the schools.
I hope you understand what I am saying. The Choice must be read by learners. they are the poeple who will most benifit.
13 bertino // Oct 12, 2009 at 5:23 pm
the choice is by far the best south african book ive read this year and i truly think that gayton mckenzie is the man that should lead our youth cos these others are a waste of time peeriod.and anyone knows how i can get hold of gayton just let me know this is my email
14 Michelle // Dec 22, 2009 at 3:55 pm
I have looked all over for Gayton McKenzie’s book - The Choice and cant find it anywhere, he is truly an inspiration to all.
Please help and tell me where can i find his book!
He came to my school a long time ago and since then ive been trying to get my hands on the book
15 Muzi Ngwenya // Jan 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm
Dear Gayton [Hosh Ndoda]
I have just finished reading your book [which I knew about for years, but somehow ignored buying it]. I bought it four days ago… and I simply couln’t put it down. Well done to all of your team. I am overwhelmed by your story.
I have never been into “crime” - in the common sense of the word. Other than not paying my traffic fines and my TV license.
I do a lot of work with communities in Mpumalanga. As a result, I see a lot of possible future trouble with [mainly] the youth abusing alcohol and drugs.
Because it is impossible to be in every square metre of our country [both yourself and many other motivators/role models], may I ask you to start thinking about doing a TV Show. Somethng more or less the same like Zola7, but focusing on crime and drug abuse. I believe this will have a far reaching impact than you attempting to be with everyone [physically].
Once again, a Big, Big Hug from me Brother…
16 Lisha Kekana // Apr 8, 2010 at 9:56 am
Hi im Lisha an 18 year old girl attending Ferndale high school in Randburg.I learnt about Gayton whilst in primary school,grade 7,and i had never heard of such a life changing story before.Since then i started hearing more and more about him and eventually found out that he had a book.I made the choice to buy that book and indeed I was inspired.Ive made all my friends and family members read it,Ive even read it to my teacher.What Gayton went through was horrible.One would say that after all the things that he had done he deserved what happened to him,but does he really.I dont think that he deserved it,I dont think that anyone deserves to go through such.Gayton is a hero and I believe that there are a million more Gaytons out there who are just not heard about.I salute you Mr Mckenzie,you are indeed one in a million!
17 annelize // Apr 11, 2010 at 9:42 pm
hi, i have read “the choice” in 2007, it took me 2 days to read it as i just could not put it down. being the same age as gayton, i can admit that up untill this day, i have never ever came in contact with drug, crime and so many un-mentioned things that gayton witnessed through out his life. i really think that “the choice” is an eye opener for so many people like me, that haven’t come in contact with the tough side of life. thank you gayton for sharing your story with us, and doing the right thing at the end…
18 judith du plessis // Apr 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm
i have been to prison nine times in the course of thirteen years due to heroin abuse and lived on the streets of hillbrow for four,I am now clean and have a two year old boy.I found gaytons story very moving and inspirational and would like to e mail him.
19 Andrew Fick // Jun 4, 2010 at 5:06 pm
I haven’t read his book yet, but a few of us met up with Gayton on Saturday in JHB by chance……what a fantastic guy. We didn’t know him for a bar of soap and he took a whole group of us into Soweto, entertained us, escorted us to the Super 14 finals match and then transported us back home. What an unbelievable guy!!!
20 Sibulele Magula // Aug 12, 2010 at 9:06 am
This is such an inspiring book, I mean at15 this book made me to see life in a different angle, wow Gayton your my inspiration.I admire you.

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