By Sydney Kawadza
For years, Gift “The Praying Mantis” Mabhaudhi’s voice captivated radio audiences, especially Christians who followed former Radio 2, now Radio Zimbabwe’s gospel programmes until 2004 when an unfortunate incident silenced his voice.
But that passionate voice is silent for good.
The man synonymous with the high-pitched and piercing voice that drew thousands of listeners to Sunday service and morning prayers died yesterday morning. He was 68.
His son, Rowdy, confirmed that on Twitter.
“My father Mufundisi Mabaudhi, most of you know him from radio programmes, Zvidzidzo Zvebhaiberi, ChiKritsu neTsika, Sunday Morning Service. He is no more. I’m not okay!”
Another relative, Issued, speaking from Mabhaudhi’s rural home in Chiware, Rusape in Manicaland, said: “Yes I can confirm his death.”
The church in Zimbabwe also joined in mourning the influential preacher.
Bishop Eric Ruwona of the Anglican Church in Manicaland and Zimbabwe Council of Churches vice-president described Mabhaudhi as a pioneer of Christian radio broadcasting.
“His death is a sad loss to the Church of God,” he said.
ZCC secretary general Kenneth Mtata said Mabhaudhi was a highly celebrated indigenous clergyman whose contribution changed and made the Christian message accessible to ordinary people.
“He translated some difficult theological concepts into ways that could be identified by the ordinary people. In this regard, he was a highly respected organic intellectual as far as theology and the church education was concerned,” Mtata said.
Tehillar Christian Network Reverend Sam Malunga described Mabhaudhi’s death as untimely calling him a historic contributor to Christian broadcasting development in Zimbabwe.
Mabhaudhi, then a pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church, turned the programme Zvidzodzo zveBhaibheri into a signature programme every Sunday on the then ZBC Radio 2. NewsDay