HARARE – Soccer, music and drama are some of the activities that inmates at most Zimbabwean prisons are involved in to relieve stress and buy time while serving their sentences.
A visit to Khami Maximum Prison, one of the country’s biggest prisons just outside Bulawayo, you are greeted by the melodious sounds of Izethekeli Imbube (visitors’ genre) musical group.
Clad in matching yellow and grey outfits, Izethekeli Imbube draws the attention of all visitors, prison officers and the other fellow inmates.
The group, which was launched in 2006 comprises 14 members who are serving their terms for various crimes and have God given singing talent.
Izethekeli Imbube provides entertainment for other inmates and the prison officers during the day while basking in the sunlight.
Listening to the melodious voices of the group, one would think the prisons are now offering live musical performances to the convicts.
A closer look and attentive listening will bring you face to face with the musical group at Khami maximum prison.
Hate or love it, one might call them the hard cores, the convicts, notorious among other names but the Izethekeli Imbube musical group will certainly put a smile on any music lover.
Speaking to the Daily News, officer in charge at Khami Maximum Prison Greenfiled Bulala said the group is made up of talented people who can scale to greater heights if provided with a sponsorship deal to record their music.
“The group provides entertainment to prison communities as well as those outside. They are normally hired to perform at weddings, churches and any other functions or gatherings around Bulawayo.
“We are in the process of looking for sponsorship and we hope one day someone will just come and help them to realise their dream and record them,” said Bulala.
Izethekeli Imbube’s director Oscar Ncube said he was looking forward to his release in 2014.
“We are looking forward to getting a sponsor who will help us record our songs. We have more than 50 songs that we want to record but we do not have the money to do so,” said Ncube.
Prisoners just volunteer to join the group and together they sing for their fellow inmates.
Ncube added that they do not just sing to entertain other inmates but to help in the near future.
“We sing to prepare ourselves for the life after prison. We do not want to go back into crime again that is why sometimes we sing songs to inspire and educate others,” he said.
Some members of the group have already left the prison after serving their respective terms and are now singing under the name Amapikelezi.
Ncube together with his band members hope to be reunited with their former group members when they come out of prison.
Izethekeli Imbube musical group belted about six of their songs much to the delight of the journalists and other staff members who attended the tour of Khami maximum Prison.