Prisons are usually regarded as places of sorrow and agony. Yes, places where there is no suggestion of laughter as jailbirds are believed to spend their days and nights lamenting on offences they committed.
However, this thinking is erroneous because if you visit Mikuyu II Juvenile Prison in Zomba, one would break into laughter with the jokes that the inmates manufacture from their theatre for development.
One of the inmates, Enock Malowa, said theatre behind bars is beyond laughter, but crucial as it solves many problems that led the inmates into the cooler.
For instance, he said inmate actors act out how a person commits a crime as well as the consequences that led to their incarceration .
“We make sure that every play solves problems that instil in us knowledge on the significance of respecting the laws of the country that prepare us to be responsible citizens when released,” he said.
Officer in-charge for the facility, Senior Superintendent Susan Mande, said among other skills inmates acquire during their tenure at the prison, theatre complements to the prisoners’ reformation.
“When they act, they inform and educate each other on the importance of discipline within and outside prison until they finish their sentences, which makes things easier for their reformation,” she said.
Assistant social welfare officer for Zomba District Francis Futu said inmates need more artistic skills to keep them busy and relaxed. n