BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
POPULAR accapela apostolic gospel music outfit Vabati vaJehovha’s frontman Richard Magaya this week said they have been using their music to fight the scourge of child marriages, prevalent among white-garment apostolic sects.
Magaya told NewsDay Weekender Life & Style that they had crafted several strategies as part of their campaign against child marriages and gender-based violence, especially in white garment churches.
Leader of the group Richard Magaya said their music will play a crucial role in raising awareness against child marriages.
“We are currently intensifying the fight against child marriages and gender-based violence in white garment churches. We have many strategies and plans, with our influence in music
being our biggest asset. We, therefore, want to partner every willing organisation to spread the message across the country,” he said.
“As soon as we get a partner that can provide enough funding, and trained personnel that can deliver the message in a respectful traditional and spiritual way, we will be good to
Magaya said seeing a lot of children forced into early marriages and some getting infected with HIV jolted them to embark on an awareness campaign.
“The motivation came from the pain of seeing a lot of children and young adults being forced into early marriages and at times being infected with HIV and deprived of health care. We
are currently working on a song that is specifically meant to address the issue of child marriages,” he said.
The group has been collaborating with different musicians and this has paid off, particularly their latest partnership with Jah Prayzah on a song off their album, Ngandibereke Mapudzi.
The accapela group has also roped in the late founding member Wiseman Magaya’s son, Alvin, an upcoming independent afro-fusion artiste, in a new project.
“We do have lots of projects that we are involved in, including one project that we are working on with Alvin. We also have a surprise collaboration with a South African gospel artiste,
including a single that we will do alone,” he said.
Magaya said they were scheduled to perform in South Africa, at least thrice before year-end, with another jaunt in Botswana also on the cards.
“We are glad to say we have opened a YouTube channel, Vabati VaJehovha as well as a Facebook page @vabatiofficial,” he said.
He said their upcoming video featuring Jah Prayzah would help spread the message against early child marriages in the country and abroad.
Magaya, however, bemoaned the lack of financial assistance and promoters as the greatest hindrance to the growth of their music genre, despite its growing popularity.
“Zimbabwe has many talented gospel artistes that need promoters and financial assistance in order for their products to be at par with that of their circular counterparts in terms of quality and publicity,” he said.
Several other artistes, including dancehall chanters Winky D, Killer T and Tocky Vibes at times rope in apostolic choral outfits in some of their projects.