By Kennedy Nyavaya
As thousands cheerfully thronged Phelandaba Stadium for free worship, the man behind Gwanda Gospel Festival, Justice Maphosa (pictured below) was pondering on the ultimate benefit of bringing the glamorous event to the mining town.
According to Maphosa, there were “forces” aimed at hindering the three-day fête where some of the best gospel artists from Zimbabwe and South Africa performed.
It appears to have cost a fortune to put such a show together, but apparently money was not the only problem for the organisers.
Speaking during a church service at the end of the festival last Sunday, Maphosa recounted frustrations, especially at Beitbridge Border Post.
“Gwanda is painful and you do not even know half of it. When people are celebrating, some of us are busy saying silent prayers because we know what we have been through,” said Maphosa.
The big budget for the project, which ran from September 1 to 3 themed God is Speaking, Are You Listening…Feel it, Its Here, was evidenced by a lavish stage, marquees and lightning equipment.
“I will tell you the honest truth. If I were to do this show in Jo’burg, I would have gone to the biggest stadium FNB and have 10 times the audience, and I would have paid 20% of what I paid here,” he said.
The business mogul queried some of the the unnecessary bureaucracy in clearing the South African musicians and equipment at the border.
“Our people are going through a lot of pain to put together the Gwanda Gospel Festival and at times, you ask yourself, why do I bother?” he asked.
Despite all the frustrations, including pressure from his family, Maphosa pledged to continue financing the project until it reaches its 10th anniversary and yonder.
“We do it because it is a calling and the altar is in Gwanda, whether you like it or not,” he said.
Gwanda Gospel Festival has grown to be one of the most sought-after gospel music galas that bring together musicians from South Africa and Zimbabwe.