By Abigirl Tembo

Prisoners just like all other human beings, also long for visitors and a connection to the outside world.

Lovemorehas been in prison for the past 16 years. Behind the high prison walls, he has become an isolated soul. For all those years he has spent in jail, not even a single relative or friend has visited him. Tawanda who is serving a life sentence for murder hopes that maybe one day he might get a visitor, especially during the week of 19 to 25 August which has been set aside as the prison family week.

“Kubva zvandakapinda muno 2002 hapana akambouyawo kuzondiona. Ndirikukumbirawo kuti hama dzangu dai vandiregererawo vauyawo kuzondiona. Mujeei morwadza kana pasina wako anozokuona,” he said.

Lovemore’s story is not an isolated case. There are hundreds other inmates who receive virtually no visitors and they all have one wish-for someone to pay them a visit. It is a hope that they nurse everyday as they ask themselves endless questions on why life has given them such a bitter portion as the “forgotten.”

“Inini ndave ne 3 yrs ndirimuno ndokumbirawo hama dzangu dai dzauyawo pa family week irikutevera iyi”

For the women convicts there is only one plea….

“Dai varume vedu vambouyawo kuzotiona mhoti tavasuwa, todawo kuwonekwa chero hug chaiyo,” they pleaded.

ZPCS Major General Paradzai Zimondi urged Zimbabweans to remember their incarcerated relatives and friends this coming prison week when the country’s prisons will be open to the public for seven days from 8am to 4pm

“They need support from their families and friends. We encourage everybody, men and women to go and see their relatives in prisons, families can bring children so that they can see their mothers they should be able to discuss with them what is happening at home. We are also concerned with visits by men to the female prison, our experience is that men usually don’t want to come and see their wives at the female prison,” he said.

The prison family week will run from the 19th to the 25th of august and one hopes the husbands will this time flock to visit their wives and girlfriends in prison.

Besides being behind bars, they yearn for a break in the monotony of being in a cell. Countless hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for the rest of their sentences, they endure loneliness until it is a natural part of their souls. But it is no easy feat at all.