Trouble in Zimpraise paradise


CONTEMPORARY Gospel Music outfit — ZimPraise — held its 9th live DVD recording dubbed ‘‘Hymns Night 2’’ in the capital yesterday. Since its formation in 2006, the group has been on a steady expansion drive. However, the outfit has faced its fair share of challenges ranging from ownership squabbles and morality issues. While Joseph Madziyire says he is the founder and chief executive of the choir and its various sub-divisions, sources are saying that certain contractual obligations have not been fulfilled to make him the sole owner of the outfit.

Choir members are also said to be embroiled in love triangles, with Madziyire allegedly at the centre of some of them. Last week, Madziyire spoke to The Sunday Mail’s Desire Ncube on these and other issues. Read on:
Joseph Madziyire: Let me explain how ZimPraise started.

In 2004, Macdonald ‘Macdee’ Chidavaenzi and l would meet very often. We would converse on various subjects. However, we both have a passion for music and so we spoke more about that.

At one point, I remember that we had just finished praying and we were chatting. I think we were talking about being the best producers in the country. We were both very young at the time. I remember telling Macdee that I wanted to start a choir here in Bulawayo and he jokingly said he would steal my idea.

We then agreed to start something together since it was a shared vision. After that, Macdee returned to Harare and was at the pinnacle of the group from the capital. That is how ZimPraise was formed.


Macdee He produced ‘‘ZimPraise Volume 1 and 2’’. I then went to school in Australia and I would help a lot from there. When l returned in 2010, l became the creative director and l did the formal registration for the group despite the fact that Macdee had been the man behind the group since 2006 upto 2007.

So the group now had two directors. People like Garikai Ndanga, Cosby Mashiri, Pastor Trevor Maisiri and many others partnered us during the initial stages. A certain prophet who came from Zambia delivered a prophecy to Macdee. He said there was going to be an army of worshipers that was going to come out of Zimbabwe and close the musical gap between God and man.

He said that army, musicians that God was going to raise, would stand the test of time, politically and socially. However, I was not present during that time. I took over in 2011 and directed that year’s live DVD. From there, we did ‘‘Sungano’’.

At that time, I registered the group as a Trust. Macdee was busy with Eternity Studio at that time. He had many projects and I was running with the idea.

He proposed that I become the chief executive of the group and they become the directors so we set up a board that comprised of Macdee and Ndanga. I am forgetting the other one. It had trustees. The board endorsed my position as ZimPraise’s chief executive officer.

From that point, our operations extended from being just a choir to helping kids in schools. In 2013, all the board members suggested in good faith that I take over and own the ZimPraise brand.

There was no fight of any sort. We went to the lawyers and we evaluated everything and I paid the required amount and ZimPraise was officially signed over to me. What I bought was the brand, not the ministry. I then created other entities like the ZimPraise Kids and the production house, among other projects, to try and raise funds.

I am not a CEO of a choir. I am the CEO of the organizational structure. People only see the choir because it’s more active but we have an academy that trains musicians, Zimpraise Kids and Extol Media (production house), among the entities. We are only waiting for that moment when God will bless us with money. The structures are ready and we will just put money into the existing structures

I am a young man(29), I have my own share of challenges, I err sometimes. Even in leadership, sometimes I go astray. But I always apologise to God and seek to be renewed time and again. When it comes to relationships, l am looking for the right partner for myself. I am not victimising and abusing women, those who are saying l am doing that are lying. I can stand before God and say it’s false because God knows me.

I can’t wait for that moment when I will find someone to marry. All these stories (about abusing women) frustrate me. I also want to be with someone. Sometimes I wish l had someone who would say, “What you are saying about my husband is not true.”

I want that person who stands next to me. At one time, I would cry alone. I have felt like quitting so many times. Imagine after helping someone, he or she then tries to fight and destroy you behind your back. It’s so painful. God strengthens me to face these challenges that l encounter in ministry. God is with us during such times.

As a group, we believe in God and that has enabled us to stand the test of time. People will never understand while some will choose not to. Handivimbi nemunhu nomatter what storms come my way. People fight me all the time, I don’t even know some of them. I have learnt not to put my trust in human beings but in a supernatural power who is God.

I have a secret place that I use to speak to God. I put God first in everything. When I am marketing my show, I just do what I am able to. Of course I sit down and do the calculations in preparation of the show but there are other things that God Himself does.

God is working in our camp. As Zimpraise, we cannot give ourselves credit on that. There are times when we are pressed on both sides, times when you see that things are not moving. I believe that God is moulding me to be humble, especially in the ministry.

Joyous Celebration founders inspired us. I am not ashamed to give credit where it is due. I started playing the piano at the age of six, my father was appointed a Northend pastor in Bulawayo.

My skills on the piano are self taught. I remember playing songs like, ‘‘This is the day that the Lord has made’’. I was playing one note at a time until I learnt to use codes and play them fluently. That is how I started playing the piano. It is a God given talent.

When I went to school to study creative arts majoring in Music and Film, a lot of people were encouraging me to study business but I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to grow my passion and one man, Mr Milton Kamwendo, motivated me a lot when he said build your business and everything around your passion and showcase. I listened to that and it is working.

The foundation that I got from my parents helped me to be where I am right now. They taught me to be thankful. My parents gave me character and the ability to know that everything comes from God. In other words, they gave me the seeds to success.

‘‘Hymns Night 2’’ is our 9th live DVD recording. This year’s edition was dubbed ‘‘Re-digging the ancient walls’’. We took that from the Bible when Jacob dug the walls of his father Isaac.

We are saying let’s go back in time and look at how our fathers worshipped, how these hymns changed their lives, what made their faith so strong such that they could change things through prayer and singing.

We have realised that all the secrets are hidden in the hymns, that is why we staged this concert. If you believe in God, his dictates remain the same from Moses’ time to today and forever. It’s all encoded in the old hymns. That is what we are doing with the hymns project.

We are also celebrating 10 years of existence this year.

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