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Gospel singer fills gap

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Simangenkosi Nkala, popularly known as Mantongande, is a breakthrough gospel singer helping to fill a huge void in Ndebele music which is struggling to catch on after the golden era of Solomon Skuza, Ndux Malax, Freedom Sengwayo, Brian Sibalo, Fanyana Dube, Don Gumbo, Matonto, Lovemore Majaivana and Busi Ncube.

Mantongande released her debut album, Behold the Lamb of God, in 2008 and last year released her second, Ngihamba Ngegunya. On New Year’s Day, she will record her debut DVD during at a live concert in London.

The mother of two boys, who hails from Bulawayo, she is married to Pastor Obert Nkala of the Brethren in Christ Church, New Zimbabwe reports.

Mantongande regards herself a natural musician as she started singing at a very tender age, first at Phunyuka Primary School in Lupane and later at Mandlethu Secondary School and Entumbane Secondary School.

“I became active in the scripture union at school and used to sing in church (Brethren in Christ, Lobengula) with a group called Pure Joy,” she said. “Singing then was just a hobby and when I moved to England in 2000, that’s when I began toying with the idea of recording a CD.”

Mantongande is her totem, whose English translation she said would most likely be “long knobkerries”.

She said she was currently studying at the University of Essex, while simultaneously pursuing her music career.

Although she does most of the song writing, she said her husband also contributed toher efforts.

She added: “My husband does all the instruments when we’re recording.

“He is so gifted; he can play anything. I guess it saves us a lot of money!”

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