Gospel fiesta lights up Gwanda

Deborah Fraser

Thousands of gospel music lovers thronged Gwanda’s Pelandaba Stadium at the weekend to witness an array of local and South African artistes taking turns to lead praise and worship.


Memories of the Gwanda International Gospel Festival fourth edition will remain etched in the minds of both young and old residents in the mining town well after the event.

The fiesta, bankrolled by Bigtime Strategic Group, took off to a brilliant start on Friday night as thousands gathered for the showcase by Hybrid Psalms, Great Praise Melodies and the energetic Vocal Ex, which was headlined by SA’s Dr Tumi.

At was almost an extravagant affair characterised by a giant stage, good sound and fireworks which brought to life the usually sleepy mining town.

The ambiance complemented the artistes on Saturday night during a fire-powered showcase which kept the massive crowd engaged in sing-alongs and dance.

The night kicked off at 7pm with Indosakusa’s unique accapella — widely known as imbube — as the outfit charmed the crowd with their synchronised voices and dances that made their slot a marvel to watch.

Half an hour later, ZCC Mbungo Stars took to the stage and their energy juxtaposed with trumpets, which blended well with the fete’s theme, The Walls of Jericho Did Fall, mesmerised the crowd.

The sounds of BICC Choir and Hybrid Psalms came after maintaining the tempo before handing over the stage to the award-winning Mathias Mhere, who took things a notch up.

Mhere’s performance was testimony that good music has no bounds — and language has no barrier — as his set punctuated by hit songs and good choreography sent many into a “trance” for a whole 45 minutes.

His delivery was so top-notch that when he left the stage, the crowd requested an encore, which he came back to deliver.

“The crowd’s reaction today was exceptional.

We thank God because when the organisers are putting this together, their biggest issue is that people should enjoy worshipping God, so it shows that the event has gone on well,” Mhere told NewsDay Life & Style after his performance.

Coming after Mhere at 11pm was a tall order for SA songstress Matsepo Mohlala who had to be inventive to keep the crowd hooked — but it took her compatriot Thinah Zungu’s powerful vocal ability to bring back the Mhere effect.

Zungu did justice to his set until midnight when he handed over the microphone to Takesure Zamar, who did not disappoint in his hour-long showcase.

After Takesure was time for the headline act, Deborah Fraser, whose hour-long performance that ended a few minutes before 2am was nothing short of magical, with the local crowd — much to her amazement — demonstrating that they were well acquainted with her discography.

Deborah, who would periodically ask the congregation which songs they wanted her to sing before doing accordingly — also prayed for Zimbabwe and encouraged people to pray for Bigtime boss, Justice Maphosa, for blessing them with the show annually.

“When you go back home, pray for him and love him because he has shown that he loves you by keeping on bringing artistes from South Africa to come and perform for you without paying a cent… He is a blessing in this community of Gwanda,” she said.