Zimbabwean award-winning gospel musician Abraham Matuka is planning a fundraising concert to raise money for young offenders incarcerated at a prison in Gweru. Matuka wants to enable the inmates to sit for their Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations.
Matuka told local publication NewsDay that his vision was not only to create music that touched people’s hearts but to also help in the rehabilitation of inmates so they could access psychosocial support in and out of prison.
“It has been great to minister in prison and share the gospel with inmates,” he said. “I chose ministering in prison because I felt if people outside need love and encouragement, what about people who are inside? I also feel it’s time to give hope and love to these people.”
Matuka has brought in a former inmate into his band and recorded a single titled ‘Totenda Nyasha’ with her as a way of encouraging society to accept and help rehabilitate former prisoners.
“I’ve always had passion to support the girl child and women, and I will continue doing this,” Matuka said, adding that he had helped former female inmates to secure business opportunities in the past.
This is not the first time Matuka has engaged his music in charitable activities. In 2015, he won a humanitarian award for social responsibility for ministering the Gospel through music at local prisons. After a presidential pardon in 2015, he organised a meeting with female beneficiaries of the amnesty to encourage relatives and communities to welcome the ex-prisoners.
With four albums under his belt, the musician has shared the stage with local gospel artists such as Mechanic Manyeruke, Mathias Mhere, Bethany Pasinawako-Ngolomi, Lawrence Haisa and South African acts Sfiso Ncwane and the late Lundi Tyamara.
Matuka is not the first gospel musician to engage prisoners with music. In 2012, fellow musician Blessing Shumba produced a gospel album called Munamato Wangu. The project featured work from inmates and prison officers from a local correctional facility in Mutare. It was recorded by Lighton Studios and released in 2011.