Prisoners hold jazz festival in Mangaung
There was an entire industry waiting for offenders on their release, Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele told the 165 prisoners who performed at South Africa's first National Offender Jazz Music Festival, in Mangaung on Friday.
"As part of the copyright-related industries, music contributes up to R2 billion annually to our country's GDP," he told the inmates and their audience of 1500 members of the public, correctional officials and prisoners.
"The music industry comprises... creators who compose, and perform, music, agents, recording companies, promoters, lawyers, retail outlets as well as a long value chain of copyright based royalties' regime
"In 2010, the Cape Town Jazz Festival alone contributed up to R685 million to the country's GDP, employing over 2 000 people.
"Therefore, as you perform here today, remember that there is an entire industry waiting for you upon your release," he said.
According to a statement issued by his office, Ndebele said the festival aimed to rehabilitate prisoners through music and group participation, and to identify their hidden talent.
The festival's priorities included encouraging inmates to be part of a group, and to adapt to its norms and values, thereby promoting respect, individual growth and self-discipline.
"Those who perform jazz are people who are constantly in search of a new life, a new beginning, a new way of looking at the old life and re-interpreting it. Jazz is music of expression based on experience," he said.
Ndebele also said the correctional services department would be holding victim-offender dialogues to "put the victim back at the centre of the corrections system", and to enable prisoners to reflect on their wrongs and ask for forgiveness, as a means of trying to rebuild communities ravaged by crime.
"As government, we are passionate about galvanising understanding, and support, for our transformative agenda from prisons to corrections, and preparing those of our offenders who need to get ready to be reintegrated as functional members of society. The emphasis of correctional services is on correction, and all of us can be corrected," Ndebele said.