The year 2013 was a defining time for gospel music in the City of Kings as fans have shown maturity by supporting local artistes.

Many groups have sprouted adding to the already existing ones, although gospel artistes from other cities have continued to gather massive crowds.

Groups such as Family Voices, Vocal Extraordinaire (Vocal Ex) and Cream Voices continue to draw reasonable crowds in the city having performed at the prestigious National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA)
alongside nationally acclaimed artistes.

Gospel rookie and dancer, Dumi Nyongola Nkomo, who has staged shows in Botswana and South Africa is elated by the support from local fans.

“They are crazy about my music, dances, and genre. My church is very supportive, I have no complains when it comes to how my music has fared so far,” a visibly excited Nkomo told RelZim on the sidelines of a gospel concert held last week.

Old gospel fans recall names such as Freedom Sengwayo, Christabel of the Zvikomborero fame and the late Revonia Khumalo, but the new crop of artistes look poised to surpass their predecessors.

Joyous Celebration star Mkhululi Bhebhe ,one of the most celebrated gospel artistes in city said gospel artistes in the city should stand up and be counted amid challenges facing the industry.

“I think this is the time to make a difference in our own city. We shouldn’t depend on foreign artistes to come and uplift our music. We have to show that Bulawayo has the talent and restore it to its original state,” Bhebhe said in an interview recently.

“That same love that people have for the South African music is the same heart I want to restore for Bulawayo music,” Bhebhe added.

Vocal Ex leader, Eric Moyo said he was determined to develop the genre in the city.

“I love Bulawayo and I think this is a place where we can step out to show the world what we can do,” Moyo said.

Bulawayo has hosted gospel giants like South Africa’s Solly Mahlangu, Sifiso Ncwane, the Fishers of Men and Mathias Mhere, but local artistes have had a fair share.