A huge boost awaits upcoming gospel artists in Zimbabwe, according to the CEO of the recently-introduced local television gospel show JustnetTv, Bongani Mguni.
Mguni said the organisation, which is based in Bulawayo, has embarked on an ambitious broadcasting project meant to uplift gospel musicians through the talent identification programme set to be conducted across Zimbabwe — Just Gospel Show.
He lamented the fact that many local artists, especially those in the gospel music industry, are hardly recognised in their home country, a situation he said has led them to join the great trek to South Africa seeking a change in their music fortunes.
Mguni said before the auditions, which were held in Harare yesterday, they had successfully rolled out the programme in Bulawayo on January 13 and in Gweru the following week.
Today, the auditions are in Mutare and the Masvingo event is set for February 3 before wrapping up this year’s auditions in the resort town of Victoria Falls on February 10, with the finals to be held in Bulawayo on a date to be announced soon.
Mguni could not hide his joy over the positive impact of the show so far, saying it is increasing their viewership and he was pleased with the response it has received, to the extent that they were now setting up plans to hold a bigger and better one next year.
“I am also appealing to local gospel artists who share the same view with me to get in touch with us,” he said.
“We say Harare, bring it on, Harare is a diverse city and I am sure the contestants will come in numbers. To the fans I say, please come and let’s support our own local talent and make a difference.”
The three winning contestants after the elimination phase will walk away with a total of $10 000 in cash prizes at the finals.
“There are huge prizes to be won, this show could change an artist’s life and take them a step further to that breakthrough they are yearning for,” he said.
“We have $10 000 worth of cash prize money to be won. The winner will pocket $5 000 while first and second runners up receive $3 000 and $2 000 respectively. There is an audition fee of $5 for individuals and $50 for groups.”
He said they have the best panel of judges, including Albert Nyathi, Donna Ncube, Abigail Mwembe, Doc Mguni and Thoko Muzila.
“We have had a positive welcome towards the programme, it has been awesome, Zimbabwe has talent. In Bulawayo we had over 50 participants and in Gweru we had about 30,” he said.
“Just Gospel Show is the platform to unearth new talent in gospel music with a view to put the genre in the same level with other music. in short, we are promoting gospel music at the same time helping identify talent here in Zimbabwe.
“What inspired me to come up with this project is how Zimbabwean gospel singers have been unfairly treated by their own citizens. Gospel singers are hardly appreciated here in Zimbabwe, hence their music is only played by a few radio stations, if not only played in back church yards”.
He said they established JustNetTv in Francistown, Botswana and being Zimbabwean, he decided to bring the show home.
“We are based in Bulawayo. It was launched in October 2017 and since then, we have seen our viewership grow; currently our viewership is over two million across the continent and parts of Europe. Here in Zimbabwe we are viewed all across the country. Now that we are the first television station here in Zimbabwe to launch what I would say is “Gospel Idols”, we have set a milestone for other stations to catch up.
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