Today i’m kind of under the weather not health wise just a bit emotionally worked up after an intense 4 hour session with juvenile delinquents. Going to give workshops in prison is very tasking, the air in the building is suffocating and the tension amongst inmates and their wardens is so thick you could slice it with a knife. The word freedom takes on a new dimension when you hear and see the doors lock and unlock as you are taken form the main gate to the inner chambers of the cells. The echoes in the halls are haunting and eery. Coming into direct contact with the workshop participants: teenagers aged 14-16 you can’t help but wonder out loud “what’s going on in here?”. Listening to their stories, their tragedies, the crimes they committed and their prospects in life triggered rage and a sense of hopelessness in me i wept silently for lives wasted, children misguided and abandoned by their parents and society. But in all this darkness i saw hope. We all collectively wrote a beautiful rap song. I was touched to see this young teens scattered around the room armed with pens and paper discussing, writing and rhyming from the bottom of their soul. It’s pure uncensored poetry, no pretexts- they don’t claim to be angels neither do they deny that they have committed horrendous acts of violence yet still their songs resonate hope and dreams of the future. As i listened to the group collectively sing their hook line i smiled remembering Chinua Achebe’s famous line “out of pain something beautiful is born”.
Rap workshop session at a Juvenile prison Düsseldorf, Germany