Andrew Moyo Leisure Reporter
\nWHAT if the winner of Starbrite 2015 actually comes from prison? What happens to them, their winning prize, jail routine? With the level of talent in this country’s prisons, this is a possibility. Besides, the prisoners spend several hours a day, just rehearsing, and as the old saying goes, “practise makes perfect”.

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“If a prisoner wins the competition he or she will be the luckiest person on earth. For starters, they will get involved in all the activities that a winner has to take part in, that is; recordings, charity, appearances at important events and even performances.

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“However, this only applies to activities within our borders. If there are any activities outside Zimbabwe, well, that will be a problem because we cannot allow a prisoner to go outside the country, it would prove difficult even for us,” said Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services public relations officer Peter Chaparanganda.

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From most of the performances at the Starbrite Prison Boot Camp recently, it is clear that talent is abundant in prison — their performances radiated positive energy.

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After the boot camp, Starbrite founder Barney Mpariwa said that most of the prisoners had set the bar high in terms of performance.
\n“It is clear that there is plenty of raw talent in prisons and from the way they perform you can actually tell that they practice. These guys have plenty of time to perfect their acts, which differs with competitors outside prison who have more obligations,” said Mpariwa.

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To the prisoners disadvantage, music and dance are always evolving, with new sounds and moves being conceptualised every day and being confined to prison walls might leave one a step behind in terms of trends.

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“Most of the artistes in prisons are really talented but because they lack exposure, their acts might lack one or two elements that could make them even better.”

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Mpariwa says the idea of involving inmates in arts activities was beneficial since it encouraged discipline and focus.
\n“Most of these inmates are actually pinning their hopes on their new found career paths and have realised that they can make a living from the arts when they get out so they are more focused.

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“I think artistic activities will go a long way in the rehabilitation of prisoners and as Starbrite, we are going to play our part in making sure that they get exposure and equal opportunities,” said Mpariwa.

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With the daily routine of most prisoners serving a sentence more than 36 months consisting of waking up, sitting around until the sun goes down and going back to sleep, there is indeed plenty of time for those partaking in artistic activities to rehearse.