An ex-prisoner, 20-year-old Sylvester Chitsonga, has released a 10-track album titled Velo, which is reflecting on the three years that he spent behind bars at Kachere Prison in Lilongwe.
Chitsonga, who hails from Kafulama Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kachindamoto in Dedza, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL) in 2011 for theft at Mtakataka in Dedza.
Fortunately, he was pardoned last year after serving three years. While in prison, he benefited from a reformatory project called Young in Prison which is being implemented by Music Crossroads with funding from the European Union (EU).
“In 2011, I broke into a house of a certain person and stole different items. Later, I was arrested and sentenced to eight years IHL. Luckily, I was pardoned after three years. During the three years I spent in prison, I learnt different skills, including music which Music Crossroads taught me during their visit to the prison. The music skill has enlightened me that I can do positive things and improve my life.
“It is for this reason that I have recorded and released this album titled Velo. My plan is to take this career higher so that many youths should know that they have potential to take part in transforming our country through various skills,” he said.
While in prison, he recorded an album titled Palibe Wina with the help of Music Crossroads. However, the album did not do well on the market as he was still in prison.
“It is my hope that this second album will do well because many people are already demanding it,” said Chitsonga, whose live music performance got a standing ovation during an Innovative to Empower Stakeholders Forum and Dialogue organised by Music Crossroads at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre last week.
Chitsonga dropped out of school in Form Two at Mtakataka Secondary School.
Music Crossroads executive director Gayighayi Mathews Mfune said Chitsonga’s story is one of the success stories of Music Crossroads in its efforts to impart skills in young offenders.
“As Music Crossroads, we are happy to see that Slyvester is a changed young man. His interest is now in music and he has a brighter future with this career. Our organisation continues to work hard to bring more skills to the youths who are in prisons,” said Mfune. n