The University of Zimbabwe students’ Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace celebrated the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy with generous book donations to Chikurubi maximum prison.
The visit is the second this year where the young and motivated Catholic students interacted with inmates under the theme, “Donate a book, help mend a broken life”.
According to Zimbabwe’s classification at Chikurubi maximum prison, the D- Class Section includes inimates convicted of murderer and those whose escape would be highly dangerous to the public or national security. Most people might, therefore, wonder why university students would donate books to D- Class Section prisoners who have no hope of ever being re-integrated back into society. The answer lies in our history: Some of the unique ideas that have led to great changes in the world came from men and women who were serving time.
From the Bible, we see that Joseph, who was wrongly imprisoned for rape, became one of the masterminds that saved Egypt from a famine of seven years. The great statesman Nelson Mandela, unjustly imprisoned for 27 years, fostered a peaceful transition to independence in South Africa and helped put a stop to the Apartheid government.
It is pertinent we remember that our brothers, sisters and relatives currently incarcerated desrve to be treated with human dignity and respect, just like all other persons we meet every day.
The Chaplain of the National Movement of Catholic Students, Fr Tinashe Mhaka, was part of the #teamjustice delegation that visited Chikurubi. In line with the Corporal Works of Mercy, the Catholic students at UZ, under the Commission for Justice and Peace, have made an undertaking that ‘project Chikurubi’ will be an ongoing activity even though the Jubilee Year of Mercy has ended.
The twenty-four students who visited Chikurubi Prison attest to the fact that there are human beings at Chikurubi maximum prison and these brothers and sisters need our prayers, love and support. To make their stay in prison bearable, we all should donate useful items and make time to visit them.
(Chiedza Tsikira is the President of the National Movement of Catholic Students, Harare Region)
Jesuit Province of Zimbabwe-Mozambique