Zimbabwe: Gospel Muso Forced to Cut Dreadlocks

Harare, Zimbabwe - Secular musicians in Zimbabwe can change hairstyles or their way of dressing without offending their fans but the same cannot be said about gospel musicians.

Society has its own expectations of gospel artists and when they start dressing or behaving in a manner they disapprove of, the fans turn their backs on their idols.

Munyaradzi Munodawafa, the blind gospel musician from Masvingo who left the nation spellbound as a kid in the 90s with his keyboard skills, learnt the hard way when he came back from the United States dreadlocked recently.

"Culture might be dynamic but I realised that it's not always the case," he said.

"After I returned from the States dreadlocked, it was very difficult for some of my fans as well as society to give me a warm welcome because of my new hairstyle.

"Three months ago I decided to have the dreadlocks cut as people were treating me differently.

"I have since realised the hairstyle did not go down well with some of my fans.

"Some people thought that the hairstyle was not suitable for a gospel musician and I respected that."

Munodawafa told StandardLife& Style that some of his fans who used to hire him to perform at their functions were no longer forthcoming.

Shedding more light on his religious life, he said he was a born- again christian, but that alone was not enough, as there was something missing in his life. "The fire of the Holy Ghost was missing in my life but today my life has completely changed.

"I believe that the album I am going to release soon will be totally different.

"I can feel that I am going in the right direction and that the Holy Spirit is leading me somewhere."

Munodawafa, who rose to fame with hit songs such as Mwari Vanoona and Shandisa Chipo Chako is set to release a seven-track album by end of May.

He believes the album will change the lives of many people because it "is inspired by the Holy Spirit."

Munodawafa also told Standard- Life&Style that he had lost hope that a promise by a local recording studio to take him for surgery in the US to restore his eyesight would ever materialise.

Last year, Allan Dzobo of Artisan Studios organised a well-attended gospel concert featuring South African artists and promised the proceeds would be used to buy Munodawafa's air ticket and pay for his visa.

"I have given up all the hope of the operation I was promised, but I believe through hardwork I will make it myself," the young musician said.