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Mandishe: From poet to gospel music star

Chiweshe-based gospel artiste Jameslay Mandishe has opened up on what drove him into gospel music after he started off as a poet whose poems were even aired on radio.

In an interview with The Herald Arts, Mandishe, who fronts The Mission Power group and is employed by the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) at Nzvimbo Growth Point in Chiweshe, said he was enthralled by music at a tender age after developing from being an anthologist.

“I started poetry at a tender age and later developed into composing music when I was at primary school in Gutu, since I had to turn the poems into songs,” he said.“At secondary level, the headmaster discovered my talent and nurtured me before he helped me to meet a renowned poet, Henry Mashiri, who used to host radio programmes on Radio Zimbabwe, formerly Radio 2.

“Mashiri, who was a former teacher, took my poems to the radio station where they were aired on Radio Zimbabwe between 1997 and 1999 during a programme called ‘Muninga Dzepfungwa’presented by Aaron Chiundura Moyo.”

Mandishe said he recorded his first album in 2016 composed of musical poems, adding that music was his hobby as he would practice music and poetry in the church as a member of the praise and worship team.

“As a child who grew up in a Christian environment, it all assisted me to develop my musical career,” said Mandishe.Mandishe said his first album is called “Pamusoro Pegomo” with five songs which include “Zvandaitauravo Ndakazviwana,” “Pamusoro Pegomo”, “Vimbika Keke Redenga”, “Ndoriziva Demon” and “Huya Mwanangu”.All the songs were part of his anthologies.

“My second album ‘Zita Renyu’ has the following songs ‘Mweya’, ‘Jesu NdiMwari’, ‘Zita Renyu’, ‘Tembere’ and ‘Gore Rapera’.

“My inspiration comes from within. I believe it’s a calling. It’s something that I can’t ignore. I’m also inspired by the life I live, the community surrounding me and other musicians out there who are making it. Mandishe said his music was a fusion of various types of genres including sungura, jazz, as well as reggae.“My role model is Pastor Charles Charamba, Pastor Haisa, Agatha Murudzwa and Dorcas Moyo.”Mandishe said his journey to success was very rough owing to various obstacles, some which were not of his making.

“The journey was very tough; it was like the road to hell. I went through a lot all these years. Sometimes I would decide to quit, but something gave me the strength to soldier on.”

Mandishe was looking forward for a collaboration with Dorcas Moyo and Pastor Haisa, adding that this would be his first collabo.Responding on how he gives attention to both careers and his family, Mandishe said he focused on one thing at a time to avoid a mix up of projects.

“During working hours at GMB, I give all my attention to my job at that moment, but after work I do my projects together with my family. My wife is supportive.“On poetry and music, I write them sometimes concurrently. I focus on romanticism, the goodness of nature, love, dreams and imaginations.”Mandishe singled out the advent of Covid-19 as a major setback to his projects since it deterred him from meeting his targets.

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