Job Sikhala Emerges Stronger: Insights from ‘In Conversation with Trevor’

February 25, 2024
SIKHALA | Report Focus News
Sikhala breaks during interview as he narrates his prison ordeal

Candid opposition figure Job Sikhala, recently released after spending 595 days in solitary confinement at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, shared his transformative experience on the platform In Conversation with Trevor. The host, Trevor Ncube (TN), engaged in a revealing conversation with Sikhala (JS), unravelling the hardships faced and the resilience gained during his imprisonment.

JS: “Thank you very much, brother Trevor, for your invite.”

TN: “Your incarceration for 595 days – a period that undoubtedly left a profound impact on you. Can you speak to your state of mind now that you are out, especially considering the charges you faced and the time spent in prison?”

JS: “These are the challenges one encounters in life. It hasn’t been easy; I was treated as a terrorist from the moment of my arrest. Solitary confinement in a 21/2-metre by one metre cell, enduring 17 hours in darkness due to power outages, was incredibly difficult. Developing mental strength was crucial for me to overcome.”

JS revealed that during the initial six months of detention, his family and any external visitors were prohibited. The aim was to isolate him from external support and breed animosity.

JS: “My persecutors wanted to break me and humiliate me. They also aimed to isolate me from the world. I approached the courts to secure the right to read, which not only strengthened me but also hardened me.”

TN: “So, these conditions actually had the opposite effect on you?”

JS: “Absolutely. They aimed to break me, but it fortified my resolve.”

JS explained that his oppressors’ intentions were to prevent him from participating in the 2023 general elections, weaken his support for Nelson Chamisa, and create animosity within his political circle. Rumours about collusion with General Chiwenga further complicated matters.

JS: “The dangerous rumour was that I colluded with General Chiwenga to overthrow Mnangagwa. A pure lie that hardened my oppressors.”

TN: “Did you ever wonder why you, in particular, were singled out?”

JS: “Indeed, that was a daily question. They didn’t want me in the elections, feared my influence on Nelson Chamisa, and sought to sever my ties with colleagues.”

JS revealed that some of his comrades spread false rumours, potentially fuelled by external sources.

JS: “Rumours circulated that I collaborated with General Chiwenga. I don’t know him; I met him once in 1997. This rumour affected me, and I want it known that it was false.”

TN: “Your letters from prison pointed to suspicions about comrades. Do you still hold those views?”

JS: “I cannot revise them. These were general rumours with unknown origins. I do not hold anything against anyone.”

The interview delved into the impact of these rumours on Sikhala’s relationships with colleagues and explored the prospects of reconciliation. The poignant conversation provided insights into Sikhala’s resilience and the complexities of his imprisonment.