Prisoners entertain graduands

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GWERU — Connemara Open Prison inmates were the major entertainment highlight at the Kaguvi Vocational Training Centre graduation ceremony held on Wednesday.

The traditional dance group gave a stunning account of themselves with well-choreographed dances which jelled well with traditional drums and African congas.

Connemara Open Prison officer-in-charge Superintendent Raphael Matonhodze said this was a way of rehabilitating the inmates and prepare them to integrate back into society ahead.

“We have a number of disciplines which we encourage the inmates to take part in as we prepare them to get back into society as law-abiding citizens. They are also given a five-day leave every month where they are allowed to go to their homes, visit friends and family and come back to the prison,” said Matonhodze.

The 15-member group is led by Edmore Chisango, who told NewsDay that getting involved with the group was the best thing he had done while in prison.

Other inmates from the group include Tulani Mandondo, who was jailed for housebreaking. He said he had found a new passion in music and intended to pursue it as a career upon release.

“I never knew I had a talent in singing, composing songs and dancing and as I prepare for life outside prison, I have noticed a career opportunity which I will follow. I guess if I had discovered this talent before, I might not have been in prison in the first place,” he said.

Prominent inmates at Connemara have been the late President Canaan Banana and former Zifa president Rafiq Khan. Banana was jailed over sodomy charges in 2000, while Khan served time for theft after he was convicted of stealing a car radio in 1992.