The Herald (Harare)

1 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Zhakata Answers 'Spiritual Calling'?

Photo: The Herald
Leonard Zhakata

Leonard Zhakata is moving slowly from the music world and more into church matters as he undertakes more work for the United Family International Church. So far he has cancelled one show that was scheduled for Murombedzi, Zvimba, on December 28, and his manager has said more gigs will be cancelled for what he called "spiritual reasons".

"He (Zhakata) has decided to take a different course in his life. He is fulfilling what he has been called to do. I cannot comment much on his personal life but from now onwards, more shows will be cancelled," Saul Mubvumbi said.

Fans were left disappointed on Friday when he failed to attend the much-publicised show in Murombedzi. In November last year, Zhakata received a prophecy from United Family International Founder Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa that he would soon become a bishop in the church. Zhakata was heard responding: "I receive" amid applause from the congregants.

Since then, close associates of the musician said he has changed and is fast turning his life to be a fully-fledged man of the cloth.

Show promoter Mutaurwa Mutandi,confirmed that Zhakata cancelled the show at the last minute.

"His manager informed us that he had cancelled the show. We had made posters, banners and paid him US$500 in advance.

"Fans were very disappointed because most people had travelled all the way from Chinhoyi, Chegutu and other surrounding areas," he said.

Mutandi said he only got information that Zhakata was unable to perform due to "spiritual matters".

Zhakata's manager said there would be refunds for his no shows.

Previously, musicians in the likes of Zexie Manatsa and David "Mr Bulk" Chiyangwa changed from being secular musicians to gospel artistes.

Born in 1968, Zhakata shot to fame as his danceable beats enthralled concert-goers across Zimbabwe.

He rose to prominence in the 1990s.

Zhakata's musical career started with the Maungwe Brothers. Joining hands with his cousin, Thomas Makion, in the late 1980s the pair released two albums before splitting to pursue solo careers.

Makion was a backing vocalist on Zhakata's smash 1994 solo album "Maruva Enyika", which spawned the huge hit "Mugove" and sold more than 120 000 copies. Zhakata returned the favour by backing Makion on his solo album of the same year, "Makorokoto."

He is probably the greatest wordsmith in local music and his songs are saturated with lyrical depth.

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