Tuku to headline Gwanda Gospel fest
By Melissa Mpofu
Superstar, Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi who turns 65 in September will celebrate his birthday in style with a performance at the annual Gwanda Gospel Festival next month.
Festival organisers said the Unicef Goodwill Ambassador who is regarded by many as a social evangelist due to his music which is replete with messages that touch on different issues in society, has been chosen to lead a field of other gospel artistes because of his impressive discography which contains both gospel and secular music.
The two-day festival which is now in its third edition will start on September 1 and will once again be held at the Pelandaba Stadium in the mining town. It will run under the theme: ‘It’s here, feel it’ with more than 10 renowned gospel artistes from South Africa also billed to perform.
A marquee for VVIP and VIP guests will once again be erected as well as a state-of-the-art stage with the team setting up expected to arrive in the country next week from South Africa to start work.
Tuku will be joined on stage by gospel greats, ZimPraise, Mahendere Brothers, ZCC Mbungo Stars, Tholakele Dhlamini, Knowledge Nkiwane and Judith Moyo from Gwanda, among an array of local musicians.
“Last year, the Gwanda Gospel Festival used Tuku’s soulful song, Hear Me Lord (I am Feeling Low) as a signature tune as well as for branding during the three-day concert so we decided, why not invite and have the superstar perform live,” said event organiser – Bigtime Strategic Group founder, Justice Maphosa.
“Oliver Mtukudzi, in the song Hear Me Lord shows that he is not only in that genre; he is indeed a Christian in his mind and heart. It comes across like that. And if you ask him, the way he explains it in that song, he says all of us go through trials and tribulations and at that point you realise . . . this is a meeting (Gwanda Gospel Festival), an appointment with God,” added Maphosa.
He said he was still finalising contracts with performers from South Africa but assured gospel music lovers that they were in for a rare treat.
“Once again, we’ll be bringing the best instruments, the best fireworks and the best musicians from diverse genres. When we plan this event, we go all out as we want to place Gwanda on the map.”
The Gwanda Gospel Festival, since its inception in 2015, has attracted the interest of both Gwanda residents and diverse Zimbabweans drawn from different provinces.
Maphosa, a businessman who is based in South Africa has been encouraged by the heartening increase in the number of people who have attended the last two editions and now wants to make Gwanda a religious tower, attracting the saved and those from the world, as a way to unite people through song and dance in the town he grew up in.
“We want Gwanda to be the altar for the whole of Zimbabwe where people from different provinces will converge to the festival for free. We’re trying to say for those people like Tholakele, Nkiwane and Judith – all from Gwanda, where else will they be seen by 30 000/ 40 000 people? Where else will they be seen on national television by millions of people, the answer is nowhere.
“So we’re providing an opportunity where every child of God comes to this altar. We don’t care where you come from. You get in for free and you worship our very same God who is for all of us,”said Maphosa. The Chronicle