Liberty Dube Entertainment Correspondent
THE Diamond FM Winter Warmer Gospel gig held last Saturday at Chancellor Primary School grounds goes down as one of the most memorable gospel shows ever to be held locally despite gospel supremo Michael Mahendere’s heartbreaking and abrupt stage departure.
It is not a secret that Mahendere is currently one of the country’s sought after gospel musicians and a date with his legion of fans in Mutare was one of the things that made Saturday’s gig special, but not so special.
He left the audience clamouring for more after performing for just an hour instead of the expected two hours.
The rapturous audience thought the “Mumoyo” hit-maker would come back when he jumped off stage but he couldn’t. Despite putting on a sterling performance, the audience was left heartbroken.
Local artistes who include multi-award winning gospel jewel Blessing Shumba, upcoming diva Dorcas Moyo and Benjamin Chimoyo-led outfit Royal Trumpets put top drawer performances and so did Harare-based gospel diva Fungisai Zvakavapano who left the stage for Mahendere.
In an interview, Mahendere explained his abrupt departure saying he was not allowed to travel at night by United Family International Church Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa.
He however admitted that he was supposed to perform for two hours.
“My Prophet, Emmanuel Makandiwa, who is also my mentor, does not allow me to travel at night so I had to finish early so that I travel back to Harare in time. I wanted to start at 5pm and end at 7pm but the schedule changed. So I performed for an hour and had to go. We are professionals and we respect contractual agreements.
“It was an awesome experience to be in Mutare and perform before such a crowd,” he said.
The well-attended gig created a beautiful bonding for Diamond FM listeners and presenters despite chilly weather which characterised the day.
Diamond FM station manager, Leander Kandiero described the gig as successful and one of the best gigs the radio station has ever hosted. He however expressed concern over the “abrupt” departure of Mahendere who was one of the main acts.
“All artistes gave top drawer performances, however, Mahendere left the stage abruptly and some sections of the audience were not happy. Although he put up a splendid performance he could not perform for two hours. He was supposed to be courteous,” he said before paying tribute to exhibitors who also made the event memorable and worthwhile.
He added, “We had a great time. We are grateful with the support we received from the audience. Next year’s show will be bigger and better. It was a great crowd.
“Our listeners and fun lovers should expect two major shows before end of year. The events have three years running and we believe are in a grooming process for our local artistes to pull such crowds,” he said.