Chikwawa Prison has expanded its reformation programmes by establishing a drama and arts group as one way of transforming prisoners in becoming productive and law-abiding citizens.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Friday, Chikwawa Prison Spokesperson Emmanuel Jackson said they came up with the idea as part of the reformation process of inmates.
“The entertainment groups are designed to help in reforming and integrating the inmates to the society. Most people think prisons are meant to punish people but that is not the case.
“The inmates here are taught different vocational skills like carpentry, tailoring, farming and they have an opportunity to go or continue with their education,” Jackson said.
He added that the formation has established the two entertainment groups just to fill the gap in the entertainment circles within the prison.
Jackson said the idea has received overwhelming response among the inmates such that 35 people have already been trained by fellow inmates in drama and traditional dance performances.
Prison authorities are hopeful that the performances will drive home transformational messages on issues such as HIV and AIDS, gender-based violence among others.
Jackson pointed out that the prison services has embarked on different programmes aimed at transforming the lives of inmates and facilitating their smooth integration into society when they are released from prison.
He, therefore, appealed to the general public to consider hiring the troupe for performances in various events and activities.
“Currently, the troupe is lacking costumes and we are looking up to hired activity to raise funds for the procurement of such material,” Jackson said.
Leader of the troupe Love Maxwell Mageri thanked the authorities for giving them the opportunity to show their talents.
“This initiative will definitely expose us to some prominent arts and theatre groups in the country through participation in their performances,” Mageri said.