BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
MULTI-AWARD winning gospel musician Fungisai Zvakavapano Mashavave (pictured below) has furiously hit back at people who are comparing her with Jah Prayzah following the release of her recent video Mutsvene (Holy).
Some critics took to social media to lambast Fungisai, as the singer is affectionately known, for “borrowing” concepts of the video from Jah Prayzah.
However, in a wide-ranging interview with Standard Style, Fungisai reacted angrily to social media comments arguing that gospel music was downplayed compared to secular music in Zimbabwe.
“I get disturbed a lot when people claim that I am a sugar-coated spirit medium, who had become Jah Prayzah’s student on my recent video Mutsvene (Holy),” Fungisai said.
“It’s shocking and these are some of the setbacks we have as women and Christians giving our all in the service of God.
“I have a catalogue of 130 plus songs that exalt only Christ. It’s sad every time I lift my step towards my calling, there just has to be forces specialising in mudslinging.
“I fear there are people wanting contact with us so they attack us for the gift that I am. I want to testify that God has been faithful. I overflow with His blessings for all to see.”
She said she had been in the mainstream music industry years before the Kutonga Kwaro hit maker released his first album titled Sungano in 2007.
“Some facts people are not privy to are that when the young man JP [Jah Prayzah] came onto the music scene, I had already spent 10 years doing gospel music on a Zimbabwe traditional sound,” Fungisai said.
“He was probably 11 years old when I did Toita Zvedenga and Vanogona on the Zimbabwe traditional beat and my latest video Mutsvene (Holy) plays behind the Simukai Tirumbidze beat, which is on my second album Toita Zvedenga.”
Fungisai said she was not moved by how critics view her music.
“My first producer Zivanai Masango was Mukanya’s [Thomas Mapfumo] lead and brass man in Zimbabwe. It was this Christian gift that also discovered the red camera, which had been brought by Moses Matanda for the Chinhoi 7 movie. “I first used it on I Belong to Jesus and JP followed suit,” she said.
“A closer look at the JP’s Mugomo video, one would find shots that resemble some on the video I Belong to Jesus and I have no problems with it.
“I was the first to discover the highly talented DJ Tamuka when he was at Kenako Music and he produced Dzimurai Moto for me and a few days later, I heard he was a full-time producer at JP Studios.
“I was the first to discover Umsebenzi kaBlacs who does most of JP’s videos after he was introduced to me as one of the Chinhoi 7 editors and Blacs did the Usaenda Wega video for me. Whilst he was still editing that project, again JP discovered him and the next thing I heard he was at JP Studios. Having been inspired by God, I was the first artiste to introduce online launching of an album as I launched The Prophetic Ancient Voice on my Facebook page sometime mid last year and recently, JP wanted to follow suit.”
The Makomborero hitmaker said she admires Jah Prayzah’s move as for every move she has initiated, the Uzumba-born singer had made it bigger and better.
“For me this makes sense because we are generations apart. It is actually my wish that generations after me should model and enhance what they have learnt from those who came before them,” Fungisai said.
“I have no problems with any artiste following suit whether by their own late discovery or by modelling themselves on me or others, but it would be unfair for anyone to discredit from God’s kingdom what the Spirit of God inspired.
“It is that inspiration from God, which the alert and intelligent of the world have paid attention to and benefited from.
“This explains why I face a lot of resistance initially until everyone else then follows suit and it becomes an acceptable norm.
“It’s rather unfortunate that our society has a natural way of taking it away from women and Christians and handing it on a silver platter to the sercularrcular masculine world.
“Maybe it’s because we are too weak and passive and perhaps we do not drive ourselves as hard as our sercular and masculine counterparts do.”
Fungisai said she strongly believed that she was called by God and He has a way of letting her into the future before others perceive it.
“Or perhaps we are too comfortable to hustle and tussle in this antagonistic, highly politicised showbiz environment,” she said.
“Still, I will not be silenced or have my biography written by the wrong hands when I know my story. My story has been that of being a born-again lady in the long service of 20 years rendered to God.
“It may be okay for some to serve two masters, but I have chosen Christ in all my existence. People are indeed entitled to their opinions, but like I sang I Belong to Jesus.
Fungisai said her career has been marred by ups and downs, but the determination to keep the Christian voice loud has been her encouragement.
“By God’s grace, I found guardian angels in the form of my husband, his family especially my mother-in-law, Tariro Mashavave, Dr Archbishops Ezekiel and Euna Guti as well as my maiden family,” she said.
The singer said she had since managed to execute all her assignments and at least stay alive through all trials and tribulations that come with being a gospel artist.
“I grew up listening to Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi, Chiwoniso Maraire and Stella Chiweshe and have always wondered why people dedicate such an amazing sound to spirit medium worship,” she said.
“As a Christian girl, I vowed to take, own that beat violently and use it for God’s glory. I promised myself I was not to settle for mediocrity just because I was saved and to date I am on it. God has not hesitated to inspire more challenging ideas.”
Fungisai said she was committed to further the work of God.
“To date, I have founded the Vulnerable Women Trust and the Churchperson Association just to further the work of God. The name of the Lord shall not be put to shame whilst I am in existence. I will sing for Christ till the cows come home,” she said.