By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
Zimbabwe gospel music legend Joseph Magundwane, better known as Mechanic Manyeruke, has called time on his long music career, earning plaudits from colleagues for decades of commitment to the industry.
A dinner has been organised for 10 November to give the 73-year-old “Father of Gospel Music” a befitting send-off.
The event will be held at Marina Casino Conference Centre at Longcheng Plaza, Harare and would be accompanied by a launch of the musician’s biography authored by journalist Bornwell Choga.
Speaking ahead of the event, organising committee member Reverend Oliver Mandisodza said everything is in place for Manyeruke’s “befitting send-off”.
“Baba Manyeruke significantly contributed to the development of church and gospel music in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“In order to give baba a befitting send-off or farewell, the working committee that he personally chose decided to organise a retirement dinner as a way to celebrate his illustrious career.”
Mandisodza says Manyeruke has not been rewarded meaningfully from music proceeds, adding it was appropriate for the music industry to honour his works through gifts.
“The work he has done sacrificing his life to preach the gospel through music and its impact worldwide has not necessarily given him the rewards commensurate with his success and fame,” Mandisodza said.
“It is therefore necessary as Zimbabweans from all walks of life to rally together and say thank you for being the ‘Father of Gospel Music’ and a good ambassador of this great nation, Zimbabwe.
“We invite among those who have already expressed their desire to offer gifts to Baba to come forward and do so at this retirement dinner.”
Speaking on the musician’s memoir, titled “Kubva Muguruva”, Choga says he used some of the material from articles he has written about Manyeruke and also tales from family members.
“I had some privilege of sharing a close relationship with Baba having written over 40 articles about him.
“I managed to go to Baba’s rural home where I spoke with his family and contemporaries.
“The book will entail his rise from humble beginnings as he once worked as a gardener to the most sought-after musician in Zimbabwe.
“He (Manyeruke) told me how, at one point, he shared the stage with the late Oliver Mtukudzi in Kwekwe.
“After his spirited performance, fans chased away Tuku on stage. Such was how big he once became.
“However, it was an arduous journey as his genre was fairly new back then and had to compete with Chimurenga music which was popular during the liberation struggle,” Choga said.
Manyeruke’s music career spans over decades.
Together with his group, they founded the name Mechanic Manyeruke and the Puritans.
Some of his popular albums include Muchandiziva Here and Kubva Kuguruva.
Born Joseph Magundwane, Manyeruke became his nickname given him by his second eldest brother who saw him toying around with all sorts of metallic junk he got hold of.
Manyeruke was his uncle who looked after him following his father’s death.