Jail Destines Destiny to Greatness

Cream behind bars; Destiny dreams of becoming a lecturer Cream behind bars; Destiny dreams of becoming a lecturer - pic by Fatsani Gunya

A prison in Malawi is a place of condemnation. There is literally very little hope there. The conditions are inhumane, several report by the prisons inspectorate have attested.

But Destiny Phiri has a different story.

This reporter asked him …..You passed with flying colors under difficult prison conditions, what inspired you?

“Kupwetekedwa mtima. It pained my heart.” Destiny answered.

A villager from Kulima at Ngabu in Chikwawa district, 24 year old Destiny is serving a six year sentence at Blantyre prison, popularly known as Chichiri prison.

“I was convicted of burglary and theft but I did not commit the crime. What happened was that I bought stolen property so I was implicated,” says Destiny.

Destiny says life in prison is not easy; “People sleep while seated here. Some people finish their sentences like that. Only few manage to sleep properly due to limited space.”

Destiny was in form four at his conviction. He endured all the prison hurdles and scooped 13 points at the Malawi School Certificate of Education examination in 2017.

“It pained me. I got here at zero. I asked myself, should I go back at zero again? I said no. I worked hard to get the points that I got. I thought that was one of the ways to live a better life when I get out of here. I sacrificed my nights to study.

“With help from education coordinators here in prison, I made it,” he says.

“After passing the examination, I applied for university enrolment but was not successful. I applied again in 2018 and was selected to Mzuzu University to do Bachelors of Education Sciences,” he says.

Destiny applied to have his space reserved at the University because “I have not yet finished my sentence but I have two more months to finish. I will be out on 24 July.”

“When I get out of the prison and get an opportunity of fees, my dream is to further my studies and become a lecturer.”

Executive Director of the Youth and Society, Charles Kajoloweka, says there is a need to invest and support the youth in prison dedicated to pursue their education.

“Looking at Destiny’s outstanding performance, one would see that it is high time we invested a lot in supporting those potential Malawians who are pursuing their studies in prison. Unfortunately it is one area that has not been considered for a long time,” he said.

In the 2019-20 National Budget, government allocated K9.0 billion on loans for needy students studying in the public and private universities throughout the country.

“I however wish to inform Honourable Members that my Ministry will work very closely with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to ensure that loans are given to bona fide needy students,” said Joseph Mwanamvekha, finance minister, when presenting the budget in parliament.

It remains to be seen whether Destiny will have a share from the national cake; otherwise, he has proved his prowess to break the mental prison and make it to destine his greatness.

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