Choral group – Harare MUMC Choir (Vabvuwi), formerly Harare West MUMC Choir – can rightly claim to have over the years contributed to the growth of gospel music in Zimbabwe.
More than 20 years after hitting the airwaves, the all-male group continues to draw admiration every time they take to the stage.
Having remained intact over the years, it is with a sense of satisfaction that the group, led by John Kawadza and his committee, is proud of having met their main objectives. Vabvuwi, a Shona word, is derived from the noun “kubvuwa”, loosely translated to the spread of God’s word.
The sense of achievement comes with the idea that the group has not only spread the word through their husky but captivating vocals but the large number of preachers who are or were members of the group.
With vocals are accompanied by the distinctive drum-beat and shakers (ngoma nehosho), Harare West, who recently released their 19th album, remain confident that they are here to stay.
In an interview, spokesperson and marketing leader Rerutsai Mujeka said the 32-member group has grown to be a revelation. He said the group was elated that they have been realising the prime objectives of their formation.
“We have grown over the years and with 32 members we are fairly a very large group,” he said.
The group has had its ups and downs with about seven members dying over the years. Mujeka believes one of the group’s strengths is the plethora of musicians who compose their songs while sticking to hymns from the church.
“Most of our songs are from the United Methodist Church hymn book with a few being composed by mostly our lead singers who are plenty within the group,” he said.
The members come from the different circuits within Harare Central and Harare West districts of the Zimbabwe West Annual Conference.
“We identify talent sometimes members apply to join the group then you will be put under probation for a period to see one’s commitment,” Mujeka said.
Driven by the objective of spreading the gospel mainly through music, the Harare MUMC (Vabvuwi) has indeed raised the flag of the church high.
“Our latest album Tiri Pano Baba is our 19th album and our major strength respect between the founding members and those who have joined the group over the years.
“We interact very well as one family and I can safely say we are inseparable, that is the young members and the old guard who are the founding fathers of the group,” he said.
The group has already broken tradition of performing at church to serenade people at parties, business gatherings, memorial services, funerals, national events among others across Zimbabwe.
“We have achieved quite a lot over the years after we pioneered recording this type of music way back in 1995 and we have been coming out with popular tracks. We are proud that we have inspired other groups to start recording their own music,” he said.
The group, which recently bought a bus to use on the road believes the support they continue to receive from their followers has been tremendous.
“We want to thank them all for the support they have continued to give us through invitations, buying and listening to our music. We promise to continue producing more music for them.”