The Number (2017)


The feature-length documentary The Number follows Magadien, a high-ranking leader in the 28, one of South Africa’s most renowned and violent prison gangs. The murder of Magadien’s young protégé confirms his growing misgivings about his life inside and he joins a reform-minded warden’s efforts to improve the prison, eyeing it as a path to early release. Gaining fulfillment and self-worth, Magadien becomes a valued partner in the new changes before explosive gang resistance forces a deadly choice between the gangster he is and the changing man he has become.

The Number is based on Jonny Steinberg’s award-winning non-fiction book. It charts Magadien’s journey as a man who finds humanity amidst brutality and showcases how South Africa continues to challenge violent prison gang culture towards a path of reform and renewed community integration.




TFIP’s promotion of The Number has catalysed its international effect.


Prison Reform Impact


TFIP secured The Number‘s entry into the Toronto International Film Festival and held a thought-provoking discussion event which used its story as a call to engage in crucial prison reforms in South Africa and other places where mass incarceration, minority issues, socio-economic demographics, lack of development activities and shortage in personnel create the structural deficiencies which permit violent gangs to emerge, strengthen and in some cases even overpower official prison staff and regulation.


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