Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) Bulawayo Metropolitan Province is living up to its mission of changing inmates’ lives after it held an arts gala at Khami Remand Prison last week.
The gala is an annual event where inmates from various stations come together to interact, socialise, and display their various artistic abilities. The event whose objective is to rehabilitate and prepare inmates for their reintegration into society upon completing their sentence made a comeback this year after a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than 100 inmates from five prisons in the Bulawayo province – Khami Maximum, Khami Remand, Khami Medium, Bulawayo Prison, and Mlondolozi participated in the event where they showcased their talents in music, Accapella, drama, comedy, dance and poetry.
Through these rehabilitation programmes in the arts, some inmates have managed to record songs while in prison, which they argue will help them sustain their lives after their release.
The arts gala gave inmates the ability to express their emotions, thoughts, and experiences. Most of the activities touched on issues to do with drug abuse where the inmates advised people to shun drug abuse, which is leading people to prison. Their message brought out that drug and substance abuse results in people committing murder, gender-based violence and rape.
One of the inmates’ poems advised people to amalgamate and fight against drug abuse as it is destroying people and the nation at large.
Hardlife Nheya (38) said he did not know that he had the ability to sing, let alone, perform in front of an audience.
“When I came to prison in 2012, I never knew that I could sing. I only got inspiration from music and identified with my talent through the rehabilitation programmes we get in prison. I took part in the talent search under the rehabilitation section in 2018 and qualified. I even managed to take part in the Starbrite singing competition where I qualified for the semi-finals before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world,” said Nheya.
Acting Officer, Commanding Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Assistant Commissioner Priscilla Mthembo, who was the guest of honour said she was very impressed with the inmates’ performances and the messages that they brought out.
“I really enjoyed – I saw more than talent in you. Those doing poetry were a cut above the rest,” Mthembo told the inmates.
She said arts enhance the psychological well-being of an individual and are turning into a source of livelihood for many out there.
“Some performers are going abroad and bringing back money to our loving country, which helps in the development of our economy.”
Mthembo went on to urge correctional officers to form a positive rapport with offenders and keep on promoting rehabilitation skills among inmates so that the rehabilitation process becomes a success.
Officers and invited guests were also urged to shun drug abuse so that their conduct with their day-to-day business is not affected.
To inspire inmates, prizes were awarded to those who performed exceptionally well on stage. This saw Khami Maximum Prison walk away with the best prison award in all categories.
The inmates promised more interesting and refined arts activities in the coming year.
Also present at the event by invitation was Khaya Arts Production under the management of Future Dube who entertained and shared artistic skills with inmates. The group showcased different dance moves, which some inmates appreciated and wished to imitate.
Inmates do not only get rehabilitation in arts programmes, but also engage in different programmes like sports, farming, motor mechanics, dressmaking, educational programmes and detergence making. – @mthabisi_mthire
Article Source: The Chronicle