Prisoner’s band, drama group impress Blantyre audience

Just like free birds that tweet that loud, Zomba and Chichiri prisons inmates on Saturday let out their spirits as they put an impressive performances at Nanzikambe arts club in Blantyre.

Performing for the first time outside prisons confinement, the inmates staged well choreographed theatrical play titled Supsai versus State and band, which for once proved wrong the general public’s view that prison is just a cage for condemned.

They rather demonstrated that the penitentiary is one correctional facility, enabling the incarcerated rediscover themselves and realize their potential and ably learn to put to use the God’s given talents whether possible.

The theatrical display was one marvelous piece to watch as the 20-member drama group from Chichiri set another force to reckon with as far as the local theatre industry is concerned. The set and costumes and the choice of characters was impressive, proving how effective Nanzikambe arts club at the prison has been in transforming the inmates.

Under theme that tells a story of one Supsai Phiri who becomes a jailed bird and has to lose his wife for his long time incarceration in prison and a long overdue battle with law-enforcers, the audience was schooled and reminded of criminal ills and the pains those at stake with the law go through.

The play by prisoners

But in one word, it was timely and well crafted and directed play that was superb to watch mainly with the blending in of traditional dances in between.

Band

On the other hand the band from Zomba prison was another performance not to miss.

Draped in white shirts and black pair trousers with Mellon stripes, the band showcased another talent those who failed to patronize the show will for long time regret to have missed.

The band performed three of its own songs before doing several renditions from Oliver Mtukudzi, Zambia’s Orga Family and old time hits from our own legends including Robert Fumulani, involuntarily urging the bigger part of the audience to take it to the dance floor.

“This is what we are missing. These guys have talent which we can find outside here. They have put up impressive show and their acting is first degree disapproving our general view that they are just prisoners with nothing to do,” commented renowned actor Mafumu Matiki after the show.

Matiki’s comment conquered with another member of the audience, Peter Koman who described the show as awesome, saying “i did not expect inmates could put such great performance. It is nice work and we all need to support this”.

Reform

In his words Station Officers for Chichiri Prison , Evance Katayira Chisi said the performance was an indication how prison service has transformed from punitive facility to a correctional service.

“Now prison is a place we tend to transform people who are wrong side of the law. We are training them in various fields which include carpentry, tinsmith, and bricklaying apart from academic studies. With the coming in of the Nanzikambe, it has helped to allow the inmates realize their artistic talents, which will help them be independent once they get out,” said Chisi.

Chisi said the initiatives the prison services has set up are currently helping to reduce crime rate as those who get out of the penitentiary are usually transformed and empowered to be independent and put into use skills imparted in them while inside.

“As we working on trying to change the general public’s view that prison is place for condemned but rather a correctional facility where those deemed guilty are reformed and made realize their potential. This is why we are now allowing them to be performing outside that people out there should appreciate our effort,” he added.

The gate collections from the show were given to the inmates as a support of their welfare inside the prison walls.

One of the scene of the play by inmates

The prison play

The Prison band performing

Jive to the prison band

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