A man behind bars. [iStockphoto]

There were mixed reactions after popular disc jockey Joe Mfalme was set free, while his close ally and hypeman Allan Ochieng, popularly known as Hype Ballo, remained in custody after an altercation that allegedly resulted in a fatality.

In his words as he walked a free man, Joe noted that his time behind bars threw him into a spiral of deep thoughts. While the spin master was off the hook to testify as a state witness, Hype Ballo remained detained to answer to charges. The ruling has ignited a social media campaign #freeHypeBallo as he awaits his verdict.

Several artists have found themselves in similar situations in work or social-related incidents.

King Kafu

Radio presenter and stand-up comic, popularly known as King Kafu, shared what led to his incarceration and his experiences while serving time before taking a positive turn. In his words, serving a jail term is the most brutal form of living as a human.

"When one is serving time, you lose everything including family and friends. Very few hold you with regard. People should enjoy freedom. It's the best feeling ever." This has resulted in starting his initiative "Mfungwa ni Binadamu" where he pays visitations to inmates, donates necessities and helps in the integration of prisoners back into society.


Once regarded as one of the best RnB artists in East Africa, Khalid Mohamed, popularly known as T.I.D, found himself on the wrong side of the law and was slapped with a one-year jail term for an assault at a nightclub in Dar es Salaam.

Luckily, his sentence was overturned when he was released on Presidential pardon after serving close to three months. However, the short duration notwithstanding, his frail appearance when released looked nothing like his former self. TID said life in prison is hard for those who are not used to it, "Those who live here are half-human, half-animal; many have ruthless hearts," he said in a previous interview.


Tripple S

As an upcoming artiste in 2015, Tripple S' career suffered a major blow that saw him take a three-year hiatus, albeit involuntarily. A video shoot landed him in trouble. He needed lots of cash for a scene and had the idea of photocopying real notes.

“I was neither aware of the consequences nor the Government protocols to follow for that matter. The script needed at least Sh200,000 so I went ahead and photocopied a huge sum of money. As a young upcoming artiste, I could not get that much money. So I opted for the easier way out,” he explains, adding that all the monies were to be destroyed after the shoot.

Things, however, took an interesting turn when the police got wind of the illegal activity and swooped in arresting him as the mastermind. Police arrived while they were shooting the second scene and arrested everyone.

“I don’t even know who snitched or how they got wind of it, but they appeared from nowhere. I am the one who was jailed because I decided to carry the responsibility; it was my video after all,’’ he adds. "Life behind bars was hard, and I lost many friends except my mother and sister, who kept on visiting every weekend."

“The three years spent behind bars taught me to look at life from a different perspective as the community didn’t accept me back easily, but I was prepared for the worst," he says.


The "Hivo Ndo Kunaendanga" hitmaker Tom Watima, also known by his stage name Majirani, also had his share of experience behind bars when he served 11 months.

While at the peak of his career, Majirani narrated his experience as nasty while serving time, saying he went through so many hurdles that changed his life entirely. "It was too much that even when I got back home upon release, I could hardly recognize it as a place I belonged," he once said.

Despite having joined Grandpa Records who were the producers of his hit single via producer Visita, his stint to make a musical comeback did not take off.

Eric Omondi

In what was now becoming a norm, comedian Eric Omondi found himself on the wrong side of the law and behind bars several times for various charges. Ranging from leading unlawful street demonstrations, organizing unlawful assembly, and even a botched attempt to storm parliament buildings to air his grievances, he was a regular guest of the state.

At a particular incident, he narrated the sorry state of remandees, saying many lacked essentials and were denied access to public help. Though he has never served a real jail term, his many visits as a state guest in various stations certainly have made him no stranger to the experiences.

Eric Omondi [File, Standard]
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