Gwanda gospel music extravaganza confirmed
Staff correspondent in Pretoria South Africa
The two day gospel music extravaganza scheduled for Gwanda’s Phelandaba stadium has officially been confirmed.
At least seven award winning South African gospel music artists are expected to grace the otherwise quiet Matabeleland South capital from the 28th to the 30th of August. Leading the artists will be Africa gospel music queen Rebecca Malope who will undoubtedly be the key attraction. Also included in the act are Hlengiwe Mhlaba, Lusanda Spiritual Group led by Lusanda Mgcinga and her son Bethusile Mgcinga.
Also billed in the act are Tsepiso Motaung, Dumi Mkokstad and Gwanda’s own new gospel music sensation Judith Moyo. Putting the icing on the cake will be jazz and gospel turned Sotho music sensation popularly known as the Village Pope Tsepo Tshola.
The music extravaganza which the organisers Big Time Strategic intends to make an annual Gwanda event will core run with the events for the official opening of the newly built Gwanda Brethren In Christ Church. Big Time Strategic group Chief Executive Office, Gwanda born Justice Maphosa told a preconcert preparatory meeting in Pretoria on Thursday evening that his company which is running similar concerts through out South Africa’s provinces will make the event an annual show in his home town of Gwanda. Similar shows are billed to be held in Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit South Africa and Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban before the end of the year.
“We are more than excited as Big Time Strategic to have this concert in Gwanda for the first time and we will be hosting similar shows in Mbombela and Moses Mabhida before the end of the year,” said Maphosa.
Addressing the Zimbabwean delegation in the meeting which was led by the Brethren In Christ Gwanda church leader Reverend Sipho Mhizha and the mayor of Gwanda Councillor Knowledge Ndlovu, the artists assured the Zimbabweans that they are also more than excited and look forward to giving the people of Zimbabwe their best performances ever. Lusanda whose excitement was visible on her face expressed that she could not wait any longer to perform live to the people of Zimbabwe for the first time in her music career.
“I am so excited and looking forward to go and perform in Zimbabwe for the first time in my music career. Right now I wish the show would even be tomorrow, I can’t wait,” said Mgcinga.
Addressing the meeting, Reverend Mhizha assured the musicians of the best crowd they have ever performed for. He thanked the musicians for accepting the invitation to take the gospel of God to Gwanda through music and hoped that souls will be won to God through the two day music concert.
“This will not just be an ordinary music concert but a time to worship God and win souls to God. When I see people like Hlengiwe Mhlaba I don’t see singers but worshippers and am certain the people of Gwanda will be saved through your music,” he said.
In an interview after the meeting Maphosa called on the people of Gwanda and Zimbabwe as a whole to come in their numbers to support the music show which will be a free entry for all.
“This concert is going to be free for all. This is our own way of giving back to God as a company and want to use music as a means of our preaching to bring people to God,” said Maphosa.
Big Time Strategic is expected to carry into the country over ten tonnes of music equipment and about 120 artists and crew. The event managers told the artists that they will be ferrying to Zimbabwe the same stage and musical instruments which were recently used by ace American hip hop musical group Eminem. The equipment will comprise a ten metre high stage, hundreds of varied types of lights and three big television screens for the audience to see from any angle what will be happening on the stage.
Speaking on behalf of the artists, Bethusile Mgcinga thanked the organisers of the show for inviting them to the preconcert meeting and helping them understand the logistics around their travel and performance arrangements.
“This is the first time that we have been invited to such a gathering. Other music promoters just pay us and we are dragged to the stage not knowing exactly what to expect nor us being consulted on how we would want things to be done.”
The artists and crew will be flown into the country in a private jet from Johannesburg direct to Bulawayo. The musical equipment and technical team are expected in Gwanda at least seven days before the day of the concert.
At least 20 000 people are expected to throng Phelandaba Stadium over the two days. Mayor Knowledge Ndlovu assured the musicians and organisers that Gwanda town is ready to receive the artists and all the people who will come to the town.
“We are ready as a town to receive everyone who will come to Gwanda and will show the whole world that while we may be considered to be a small town we are capable of handling events of this magnitude,” said the mayor.