SOUNDTRACK: Winstone Antonio
OVER the last few years, a lot of local gospel musicians — who are traditionally expected to be beacons of morality because they insist that their music is part of Christian ministry —have come under public scrutiny because of scandals.
While some musicians such as Charles and Olivia Charamba have had long successful careers untouched by scandals, others seem to have fallen by the wayside.
On and off stage, the Charambas have inspired a lot of talent across genres as evidenced by confessions by other musicians who look up to them as role models.
That is why their brand has continued to attract the corporate world, winning goodwill ambassadorial duties, board membership, music lectureship and mentorship programmes.
Whereas in other cases, people become celebrities due to media attention for their controversies, exaggerated lifestyle or wealth, not disputing that these are some facets of showbiz, over the years, the Charambas have however, proved that celebrity status can still be clothed in humility.
Considered as the country’s finest gospel music couple, the Charambas, who are now involved in church ministry, have not allowed fame and wealth to lead them astray.
Many people in Harare may have seen Olivia selling her music at Copacabana and Simon Vengesayi Muzenda Street bus terminus so she can interact with her fans in the process.
The behaviour of some local musicians, on the other hand, has earned them bad publicity that has negatively affected the growth of their careers.
Popular gospel singer Ivy Kombo who had wedded her former husband Reverend Edmore Illingworth Moyo in December 2001 had their marriage broken less than a year later. Moyo subsequently filed for divorce in 2002 amid reports he discovered that Kombo had sired a child with her foster father Admire Kasi who had looked after the orphaned singer and her twin sister Anne since they were about eight years. Kombo and Kasi then officially married in 2009 with the former admitting that Sammy-Joe, the child that was born in 2002, did not belong to Moyo.
Another musician, Lawrence Haisa had his share of controversy when Zaoga church, where he was a preacher, demoted him amid reports that he had thrown his first wife, Rugare and his one-year-old daughter out of their matrimonial home in 2004 after his wife had challenged him over an alleged love affair with another church member and musician. He also grabbed headlines for wrong reasons amid claims that he had an affair and later married his sister’s daughter in 2007.
Rising gospel musician, Kuda Mutsvene late last year was accused of destroying a six-year marriage of a United Kingdom based couple Calvin Marevesa and Lynette Nyamapfeka. Allegations were that Marevesa got hold of the two’s affair after he found love WhatsApp messages between his wife and Mutsvene. It was reported that in their conversations, the two exchanged nude pictures.
In a similar cheating fashion claim, in 2015, gospel musician Gift Mahlupeka grabbed media headlines after he allegedly cheated with Susan Dzinamarira, wife to fellow gospel musician Mathias Mhere.
In 2013, Agatha Murudzwa secretly tied the knot with pastor Gwinyai Ndembera who was still legally married to someone else.
Gospel musicians in particularly carry higher moral blameworthiness because of the nature of their music, but all musicians across genres should look up to the Charambas’ for inspiration beyond the stage.
Charles Charamba is on record as saying he is always cautious with what he does in life to avoid making mistakes and try to make the best decisions all the times.
Some musicians will argue that controversy has helped them, but is it everlasting? Food for thought.
In other parts of the world, fame brings fortune, but locally, the celebrity status has brought with it children and broken marriages.
With all such type of behaviour being displayed by some local musicians, the question therefore is; what will the society learn from them?
As a word of advice: celebrities and musicians must always bear in mind that fame demands greater responsibility and not recklessness just like the available facts in the showbiz of some of our celebrities and musicians.