GOSPEL musician, Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave did the unexpected, when she engaged Zimdancehall sensation Killer T on the song Vanondibatirana.
It was a tough moment for her, with some questioning her morality.
By Jairos Saunyama
But it worked. The song did well as Fungisai defied all odds and even did a video to accompany it.
In 2016, the diva had to endure attacks from all angles, with social media users labelling her a “lost soul”, while some described her as a villain.
However, with the passage of time, Fungisai has been vindicated.
Her creativity resulted in other gospel artistes, especially, her male counterparts doing duets with Zimdancehall artists.
“For me, I believe I was born a trendsetter, I was born a pioneer. Pioneering something out of the blue, bringing out a new idea — it is not a simple thing for people to easily accept. Someone needs to brace for things like that (negativity). My sociology tells me that when you try to bring something new to a people, you face challenges but people later understand. I knew it was a matter of time before people understand it. I am happy that I have a trailer behind me. I am planning to come up with something new again,” she said.
Other gospel artistes, who have engaged Zimdancehall since then include, Mathias Mhere, who partnered Killer T and upcoming musician, Charlton Muropa did the song Zvasiyana with Soul Jah Love.
Zimdancehall has graduated into the bigboys’ league, with more gospel artistes being attracted to the genre of the moment.
Society has often regarded the dalliance between Zimdancehall and gospel as unholy, with the former being associated with immoral activities such as drug abuse and sexual licentiousness.
But to Fungisai, it was not any easy road, as she recounted the horror she faced after the duet with Killer T.
“It was a great challenge for me. It started as a very sorrowful hopeless year for me, with a lot of hurdles to leap. It was that year the accuser of brethren was assigned on my case for God’s glory. It is the year I dared to come out of the cocoon, followed my heart and believed in God for a miracle amidst a lot of misunderstandings.
My family was even affected by it, but it is all in the past now,” she recalled.
Fungisai said due to her age, she had to “capture” the young generation through working with young artists, as well as using their preferred genre.
The musician was also attacked over her dressing among other things.
Apostolic choral music group, Vabati VaJehovah have become the latest group to join hands with Zimdancehall artists Winky D and Tocky Vibes.
The song Ngirozi, off Winky D’s latest album Gombwe, is doing well on local music charts.
The song was led by Vabati VaJehovah’s Dazzwell Tapera, who has led vocals on a number of songs by the group.
“Winky D asked us to do a song and we agreed since it is a gospel track. We are at liberty to work with any artist, as long as it is a gospel song, nothing wrong with that. We are all preaching,” Richard Magaya, one of the group’s founding members said.
Germany based music critic, Plot Mhako said it is high time society views female performers as game-changers and stop vilifying them.
He said Fungisai could have been suffered such an attack because of her being a female musician.
“It is sad and unfortunate, how female creativity and performers are often times stereotyped and vilified for the same things their male counterparts can be praised for doing. It is a cultural practice that dates back time immemorial, a misogynistic, patriarchal, archaic culture, which has no place in today’s world.
You remember how women performers are often seen as people of loose morals and sadly it doesn’t end there, they become victims of the same objectification and the society is a willing culprit,” he said.
However, Mhere was also attacked on social media over engaging a Zimdancehall artist.
Zimbabwe Business and Arts Hub (ZIBAH) director, Takemore Mazuruse, said artistes should be allowed to express their abilities and that stereotyping hampers progress in the music sector.
“The best way to express yourself is to find a groove or genre that suits your creative ability. It is, thus, a misnomer for an artiste to be stereotyped for simply choosing to express themselves in a certain way or using a certain genre. Such a culture kills creativity and hampers progress.
Let artists be artists. Their job is to create as long as they don’t do anything inhumane,” he said.
Today, Fungisai is a hero to many. She stood against the tide that could have derailed her music career.
“I won about 12 awards between 2016 and 2017. The greatest award is to have my footsteps followed liberally by many,” said Fungisai.