Music is a very powerful tool. Believers, especially Christians, use music when they worship the Living God. Spiritual hymns draw worshipers closer to their Creator, while creating an atmosphere conducive to miracles. In a nutshell, worship cannot be enjoyed, or rather said to be complete, without singing.
It is also interesting to note that even God himself delights in the worship of his children. No wonder the Bible says, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (KJV John 4 vs. 23-24).”
Since worship is not only a Sunday or a Saturday affair, when Christians congregate at their different churches, but a daily matter, different gospel choirs across the world have taken it upon themselves to record their music so that it can be listened to anytime and anywhere at the believer’s own convenience.
Gospel music today is loaded with praise and worship to God, advice on good Christian living, warnings on the antics and machinations of the accuser of brethren –the devil – among others important messages that make a child of God complete.
Some gospel musicians are evangelists who sing to bring souls that are still in darkness to repentance. Therefore due to the numerous roles gospel music plays in the lives of Christians, it has become inextricably part of believers themselves.
Zimbabwe is known for its gospel music – whether in Shona or Ndebele, Kalanga or some other minority languages. Our own music is also supplemented by that of our neighbours, such as South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland. This is mainly because of the similarities in the languages spoken in Matabeleland and those in these countries.
The Ndebeles can identify with the music of the likes of Rebecca Malope and Sipho Makhabane and many other South African gospel musicians that sing in Zulu. The differences between Ndebele and Zulu are just like those between British and American English.
Hlengiwe Mhlaba and Benjamin Dube are also some of the South African Gospel singers celebrated in Matabeleland who have been invited to church conferences in Bulawayo.
Joyous Celebration Choir from South Africa – another choir that rents the heavens with its worship songs – will be in Bulawayo in August at the invitation of Harvest House International Church. There is no doubt gospel music fanatics will be given a wonderful treat that will leave them wanting more.
The Kalanga people in Bulilima and Mangwe easily identify with the music of, among others, Isaac Maleyi of Botswana who sings in Kalanga and SeTswana. Some of his popular tracks include “Galanami Jesu” (Stay with me Jesus) and” Letsatsi labofelo” (The last day).
Elias Shongwe of Swaziland is also popular in Matabeleland with his gospel music, and some of his most celebrated tracks include: “Kuyasiza ukuzikhuza” (Self control is helpful), “Wenzeni Emhlabeni” (What have you done in the world?) and “Emphelandaba” (At the end).
Just like the Gospel of Christ, gospel music knows no national borders and has created a community of Christians in Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and other SADC countries.