The award came after the realisation that Manyeruke had inspired generations with a gospel journey that began in 1967 as he started singing worship songs at the Salvation Army church.
“Decades of hard work and unwavering strength in what he believes despite the circumstances gave me the idea to honour him. The outpouring of support for the initiative by Sar FM radio listeners, Facebook fans, pastors and Christians in New York and New Jersey strengthened the idea into a reality,” said Ngwenya.
Ngwenya said Manyeruke was a pioneer in Zimbabwe gospel music and despite all the successes and accomplishments he had stayed humble and continued to help the younger musicians all over the country.
He said they took him by surprise as seven pastors invaded the stage singing one of his recently recorded songs. Manyeruke had joined in unware of what was happening and when they finally brought the award to him, he read the inscription and gaped in awe.
“It was a magical moment and for the first time in my life I saw Baba Manyeruke at a loss for words, he also received some cash donation on the same day and coincidentally that same week his wife had to represent him in Zimbabwe as she received another award for him,” said Ngwenya.
Manyeruke said he was honoured to receive such an award and said musicians today were blessed as they did not have to go through the wall of convincing producers and record labels that people want to listen to gospel music.
He said people like himself, Jordan Chataika and Freedom Sengwayo among others had had a tough time just asking for that opportunity.
“For us, it was not about the money, it was about people who wanted to listen to us in the comfort of their homes rather than hear us in churches and at functions,” said Manyeruke.
He said it was important for the young and upcoming gospel artists to be humble because when many of them heard or saw their music on television they started thinking that they were above the rest.
He said such attitudes hindered progress of gospel music and at times smeared it with controversy.
“The major challenge for a lot of artistes is acquiring personal instruments for shows but if you get good agents and good contracts and if your product is good and blessed by God, you will not face too many challenges,” said Manyeruke.
He said singing was a gift from God and he wished those privileged could also help to upgrade the less privileged.
Manyeruke also did a duet with Ngwenya on two songs that will be produced by Zivanai Masango and released by the end of the year.
Elisha Shamhuyarira, a prominent bass guitarist who now resides in Dallas, Texas, also donated a bass guitar to Manyeruke in appreciation of his leadership to all upcoming artistes he worked with.
Manyeruke has been firm in the gospel music industry for exactly four decades and has toured around the world.