Inmates of Kibos Prison in Kisumu have a reason to smile every time they are called out to the parade.
This is because they know that there will be some good rap music from The Next Generation Family, a group made up of their fellow inmates who have decided to use their talent while in prison for the good of their community.
No wonder they were recently celebrated so much by their inmates when in Nyanza Vybez awards, they scooped the trophy for being the best music group in Western region.
The group always leave their fellow inmates are left mesmerised even though they sing without instruments.
The Next Generation Family is made up of Dan Omondi, 25, a.k.a Daniela de Messenger, Dickens Odari, 30, a.k.a Wick Dick, Isaack Owiti, 25, a.k.a Lizard de Starboy, and Abila Chacha, 30, a.k.a Ras Albiegebe.
THREE CDs THEIR NAME
The four artistes have produced three CDs and are happy that their music is finding its way to some radio stations, to the delight of their fans.
They formed the group in 2009. None of them completed their primary school education and are, coincidentally, all behind bars for either committing or attempting robbery with violence.
Dickens Odari says he was sentenced to death in 2009 for robbery with violence and is serving a life sentence.
Dan Omondi was also involved in a robbery with violence in 2008 and was sentenced to death by hanging. His sentence was later reduced to life after appeal.
The Next Generation Family, formed in Kibos Prison, Kisumu by inmates who are serving various sentences including death and life.
The four confess that they were driven by peer pressure and bad company, never listened to the advice of their parents or teachers, and did not know that what they were doing would lead them down such a perilous road.
‘HAVE MERCY ON US’
“Now we are very remorseful and ask the President and his deputy to have mercy on us. We are now transformed and become useful members of the society,” says Omondi, their leader.
Omondi’s honest and quick acceptance of reality is endearing.
He says: “Coming together in prison to form this group has taught us a lot. Prison is not a place for torturing innocent people. We are here to pay for crimes we committed. We have realised that this is a place that, if properly managed, can make even hardcore criminals realise their talents and utilise them to benefit themselves and other members of society — just like we are doing.”
They say they are grateful to Nicholas Emasi, the officer in charge of the prison, who has allowed their producer cum manager, Jamal Malique, to frequent the facility to listen to them sing and record their music.
Omondi urges the other prisons to borrow a leaf from Kibos to improve the welfare of inmates.
“We are proud of Kibos Prison. It is not that we are urging people to join us in here, but our message is simple; if you are in any prison serving a sentence, accept the reality and move on.
Use all the talents God has given you to improve your life and avoid trying to use shortcuts to achieve success.
“The officers in charge of the prison here always encourage us to join groups that can help us discover and nurture our talents. They hate seeing any of us being idle after work.
This has changed many of us as we do not have a lot of time to think about our problems or pity ourselves.
“We have formed football teams, basketball teams, there is also a gym where we do physical exercises, athletics teams.
And when it comes to spiritual nourishment, we study the Bible. There are those like artisans, musicians, and those who are good in drawing who teach themselves special skills.
“These things are coming about because of reforms in our correctional facilities and turn prisons into the rehabilitation centres that they are supposed to be rather than the torture chambers we had become accustomed to hearing about,” says Omondi.
NOT STARTED MAKING MONEY YET
Malique adds: “So far we have not started making money yet. This does not worry us much because we are sure that as soon as we are out of this place, we will start making money and also recruit more young men and women to join us.”
The Next Generation Family’s first single was Kemikali, released in 2011, followed by Ooh Jah last year and Wakenya, which came out this year and was launched last Friday at Kibos Prison.
In the track Wakenya, they were backed by artiste Elizabeth “Nahna” Adhiambo.
Wakenya-Next Generation Family
The Next Generation-Binadamu