INMATES at Khami Medium Prison complex were last week given a musical treat by a Star FM crew that drove all the way from Harare to broadcast live from Khami Medium Prison.
The programme, which is part of Star FM’s way of giving back to the community behind the walls, gave inmates an opportunity to mix and mingle with the presenters of the Sungura and Zimdancehall music on StarFM.
Ndumiso Dube also known as Skywalker and Simbarashe Maphosa “GodFatha Templeman” took turns battling out to measure the popularity of Sungura and Zimdancehall genres among the inmates.
On the sidelines of the competition, Skywalker told B-Metro that coming to prison was part of their giving back to the community programme as inmates also required entertainment despite the fact that they were imprisoned.
“The programme of visiting prisons started in 2021 when we visited Marondera Prison and our aim is to provide entertainment to our fellow brothers and sisters who are behind bars.
“On our way to Khami complex we passed through Whawha young offenders, where we had our first battle with the Godfatha and we really enjoyed with the youngsters,” he said.
Skywalker, the Sungura master, said their performance at Whawha young offenders was an eye opener as they discovered that the prison had school facilities for the children to learn while serving their jail terms.
“As a team we never had an idea how these children were being taken care of, but from our gig, we had an opportunity to see some of the facilities that are housed within the prison.
“Such facilities show the seriousness of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) in terms of rehabilitating these people for their successful reintegration back into the society upon completing their jail terms,”he said.
The Sungura master said their outreach programme required support from the corporate world as they wished to donate after every function they would have held at a prison.
The idea of donating was prompted by the discovery that some of the inmates were not getting support from their relatives.
“From the visits that we have conducted since last year, we discovered that some of the inmates were not being visited by their relatives because of reasons that we don’t even know.
“So we realised that it would be good for us to donate different items that are useful to the inmates and definitely we would have made a difference to those guys we would have met in our shows,” he said.
The Skywalker urged members of the community to support their relatives and friends who are in prison as visiting was a part of the rehabilitation process that was crucial in an inmate’s life.
“People should understand that we are all not perfect, so I would like to urge everyone out there not to abandon their relatives who are in prison on different crimes.
“Visiting inmates in prison is very important when it comes to rehabilitating an inmate so that they fit easily into the society upon completing their sentence.
“So it is my appeal to people out there to give these guys another chance,” he said.
The sungura master also took the opportunity to advise the public to be responsible as prison was not a good place to be considering that most people were parents with children, who look up to them on almost everything they require on a daily basis.
“As I was talking to inmates, I realised that prison is not a good place to be, so people should be responsible in everything they do.
“Most of the people that are here came because of being negligent so it is my plea to everyone in prison and outside to be responsible in everything that they do to avoid such situations coming our way,” he said.
Skywalker said their programme was ongoing and meant to benefit all prison inmates and that they hoped to come back to Khami Prisons as other prisons did not benefit on the show they held at Khami Medium Prison.
“It is our hope to come back to Khami, so that we visit all prisons within the complex because we only managed to host a show at Khami Medium Prison yet there are four prisons in the complex. So we intend to come back for the other stations.
“I know that this programme is going to inspire a lot of inmates and I know we will be able to identify other talented inmates in the arts industry,” he said.
Station rehabilitation officer, Leonard Matsvange, said it was inspiring to note that big stations like Star FM were coming to broadcast live from Khami prisons.
Such programmes were meant to inspire the inmates to venture into the broadcasting industry for a living.
“I know that some of the inmates have been inspired by this gesture and I know that soon we could be having small radio stations in our prisons being run by inmates.
“We have the most talented and intelligent people who need to be inspired to rise to the next level,” he said.