By Bongani Ndlovu
The Voice UK star Donel Mangena wants to be an inspiration to a generation through his music career and has set his sights on surpassing global super stars such as Chris Brown and Usher.
In doing that, Donel says he wants Zimbabweans to be proud of their country wherever they are in the world.
Speaking from his grandmother, Nita Mangena’s home in Bulawayo’s Old Luveve suburb, Donel -who is in the country to visit family – said coming second in the highly rated The Voice UK only gave him the drive to be a better musician and performer.
He said he sees himself being better than global superstars such as Usher and Chris Brown and wants to be like the late pop star Michael Jackson.
“I want them to say it not only on a small scale but on a global scale, like a Michael Jackson scale. In my head I want to be better than Chris Brown and Usher. I know I can get there through prayer and support and everything. I have a drive that I want to prove something. Even if I came second on The Voice UK, I want to prove that you will always come up top in the end. I want to be an inspiration and an icon that people can look up to. I want to be the best that anyone has ever seen. I want someone who’s at school and they are asked who they want to be and they say Donel,” he said.
Donel said his other desire was for the people of Zimbabwe to be proud of where they come from regardless of where they are in the world.
“Not many Zimbabweans in the UK are proud to be Zimbabwean, but when I came up on The Voice, that’s when they came out and said they are from Zimbabwe. So I said to myself, if I carry on doing this and on a bigger scale, more people will be proud to be Zimbabwean and more people will be proud and inspired. I want to make Zimbabwe a place that people aspire to come to. There’s amazing music and wonderful food,” said Donel.
After blazing the stage on The Voice UK and impressing the world, Donel was asked to perform for Queen Elizabeth II during her 93rd birthday celebrations.
For Donel, this shows how far God has taken him.
“Seeing how far God has taken me in life has made me appreciate what I have because sometimes you can take things for granted. After I finished performing for the Queen, that was when I said wow, I just did that. It doesn’t kick in until afterwards when you start reliving it. And you start thinking, wow this actually happened,” he said.
At the age of 16, Donel has had his fair bit of fame in a short space of time but his family keeps him grounded.
“My family and God help me handle fame. I’m a strong believer in Christ and I feel that it is what’s keeping me on my feet. Also the friends that I have as well. I don’t have useless friends, I have ones who actually care about me and wish me well,” said Donel.
He said he met Nasty C in the UK and South Africa last week and admired how women were screaming the SA rapper’s name.
Although Donel is grounded, the young man said he would like to enjoy the perks of being famous and wants a slice of that once in a while. When Donel landed at the Joshua Mqabuko International Airport last week, fans who recognised him took time to take selfies with him and get autographs.
“I’m walking in town and people notice me with a hat on. I’m thinking, I’m in a different country and people notice me and in less than a year. I want to be the person all over the world that young kids look up to. I met Nasty C when I was coming here. I saw girls screaming for him and I was like, I want girls from all over the world to scream for me too,” said Donel.
Being back home for Donel is a time for him to reconnect with his grandmother who was all smiles during Chronicle Showbiz’s visit.
It’s been 10 years since he was at the Old Luveve home and Donel said it was good to be home and seeing his grandmother.
“In the UK everyone thinks it’s amazing for my grandmother and I to have such a connection, but when you come to Zimbabwe, it’s a relationship that every grandchild has. It’s be good to come back and it’s nice to see that people appreciate her as well,” said Donel.
During his visit, Donel was spotted at Red Café with his father Nkosana Mangena.
He also appeared on Sky Metro FM’s Vuka Vuka breakfast show yesterday. The Chronicle