AG's Of­fice clears Buyanga:

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Life­style Writer

THE Gwanda In­ter­na­tional Gospel Mu­sic Fes­ti­val rolled into Zim­babwe and as part of the ex­clu­sive me­dia elite to the pres­ti­gious event, Satur­day Her­ald Life­style took pride of place amongst the me­dia del­e­gates to ex­pe­ri­ence the show. And the take home was as­tound­ing!

The Peo­ple

If you sit next to the ra­dio and lis­ten to Takesure Za­mar, you may be left un­der­whelmed as he sounds pretty ortho­dox and prob­a­bly like a mu­si­cian with an al­to­gether heavy se­ri­ous at­ti­tude in his lyri­cism.

Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. Asked to come to Gwanda for the fes­ti­val for a sec­ond bite of the cherry af­ter hav­ing per­formed there be­fore, there is lit­tle ques­tion why he was asked to come back. He is a supernova.

Za­mar is un­like the old stereo­type of the gospel artiste in Zim­babwe. You know, the odd guy try­ing to make it who sings tra­di­tional church hymns with flo­ral shirts, shiny but­tons and lips which if they open are highly likely to emit bad breath.

Gospel mu­si­cians have sadly been un­spec­tac­u­lar in the past. Za­mar oozes the magic of a down to earth yet cos­mopoli­tan artiste which is lit­tle won­der why he has stolen the hearts of many peo­ple who love gospel mu­sic and even those whose spir­its just need a lit­tle bit of mas­sag­ing here and there in a tough world.

Yet ul­ti­mately it is per­haps be­cause of that se­cret weapon that he pos­sesses — that deep bari­tone voice which shook the foun­da­tions of Phe­land­aba Sta­dium once Za­mar was pos­sessed by the spirit of his God and erupted into song. And af­ter all Za­mar is a lo­cal kid, Gwanda born and raised. Wakhula wakokob’eGwanda. It is home!

A voice so pow­er­ful that; if used for harm, could cause de­struc­tion of nu­clear pro­por­tions that would leave only the cock­roaches alive and the wa­ters cov­er­ing the sea . . . much like In the be­gin­ning!

En­ter Deb­o­rah Fraser, an­other of the ‘‘peo­ple’’. A warm-hearted per­son with a mag­netic char­ac­ter and warmth of spirit.

In­vited per­son­ally by the head of the hosts, Big Time Strate­gic Group, her mes­sage of hope, re­vival, prayer­ful­ness and kind­ness is one that eter­nally res­onates in the walls of the sta­dium even aeons af­ter she will have left. A sure di­vin­ity etched onto the very walls of the venue!

Thi­nah Zungu, the thug, the gang­ster-to-an­gel. The Saul-toPaul, showed that the genre of gospel mu­sic has a bright fu­ture way af­ter the likes of mam’ Fraser hang their mi­cro­phones.

Mathias Mhere and his in­fu­sion of a tinge of sun­gura, which is supremely dance­able, made sure the en­ter­tain­ment com­po­nent was not lost.

And was this Gwanda? Mhere tore down the walls of lan­guage bar­rier as the lo­cals sang along to his songs ef­fort­lessly.

The Moves

A free con­cert that has lo­gis­tics so wide and var­ied means the world­class stage has to be sought from South Africa. That is the mad­ness that makes the dream by Big Time Strate­gic Group’s boss, Jus­tice Peace Maphosa a colos­sal mir­a­cle. How it be­comes flaw­less is in it­self an­other marvel of mod­ern day plan­ning.

A trans-bor­der team of Al­son Dakarayi and Mthokozisi “Ndlovu” Dube en­sures a calm­ing of some of the mad­ness.

And sadly for Je­sus, had the holy fam­ily been at the Gwanda In­ter­na­tional Gospel Mu­sic Fes­ti­val they would have suf­fered se­ri­ous déjà vu no less.

It would have been Beth­le­hem mad­ness once again be­cause when the GIGMF rolls into town there is no room at the inn. Lit­er­ally.

All ho­tels, lodges, book­ing houses are packed to the rafters and Gwanda awak­ens to the re­li­gious cap­i­tal of Zim­babwe, if only for a week­end.

One would even be tempted, and for­given, to think the barns and sta­bles and all the mangers are taken as well.

The Mu­sic

Cer­tainly the mu­sic, the main in­gre­di­ent, was served with God­given pre­ci­sion. When an­gels take their an­nual leave days, they prob­a­bly bat­tle to en­sure they take them to co­in­cide with mu­sic fes­ti­val. Who wants to miss this?

A fes­ti­val of praise and wor­ship like this nour­ishes the soul. It washes the spirit in the praise and wor­ship.

It slays the devil, his un­cles and aunts, with the praise and wor­ship. In the end when all was said and done, here was a fes­ti­val that lived up to its billing.

The Lonely Tree

Who would want to miss this event? Well, sadly one man did. The founder of the fes­ti­val, Gwanda bred busi­ness­man Jus­tice Maphosa missed it for the first time due to per­sonal rea­sons of a se­cu­rity na­ture. How he would have loved to be there.

He is known, at the peak of be­ing in the spirit, for go­ing to a par­tic­u­lar tree in the en­clo­sure where he starts to pray.

That tree, which prays with him, was lonely this year in his ab­sence. Per­haps it said a prayer for him? Per­haps it wept.

Yet at the end of it all, the fact is in spite of the tree’s lone­li­ness, ev­ery­body else left with a smile on their faces and healed souls.

And the fire­works, that shook the earth and bright­ened the skies in great mag­na­nim­ity, sealed what was an epic ex­pe­ri­ence!

Takesure Za­mar Mathias Mhere Deb­o­rah Fraser

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