Yeukai Karengezeka Arts Correspondent
Gospel musician Minister Michael Mahendere and Lawrence “Worshipper Larry” Gunda are elated after lifting the nation’s flag high in Kenya where they walked away with two gongs at the Maranatha Gospel Music Awards.
The awards, which were held at the weekend, are designed to acknowledge worship music and to honour exceptional individuals from around the globe.
Mahendere scooped the Outstanding Male Minister of Excellence Award, shrugging off stiff competition from fellow Zimbabweans Tembalami Tagwirei and Mkululi Bebe as well as 12 other international artistes.
Among them were Trevas Green (United States of America), Jimmy D Psalmist (Nigeria), Solly Mahlangu (South Africa) and Nathaniel Bassey (Nigeria).
Gunda won the Outstanding Invocation Song with his track “Taura Mweya”.
He beat 20 other artistes from the continent.
In an interview, Minister Mahendere could not hide his joy.
“I am so excited and I would like to thank God for his abundant grace and mercy that he is always affording us to be used as ministers of his word of love through music,” said Mahendere.
“We thank mentors in the Lord Prophets Emmanuel and Ruth Makandiwa for directing us in the way we should go as music ministers through their special teaching of the word of God as well as my supportive wife Vimbai.”
He also said the appreciated the love and support that he receives from his band Direct Worship and his legion of fans.
Gunda said it was a great achievement and he was happy that local gospel music was getting recognition across the globe.
“I am proud to be a Zimbabwean musician and I am so happy that our gospel music is now being recognised globally and that is encouraging,” said Gunda.
“This is my first international award and it is a great achievement considering how other nations are sailing in music industry.
“When I wrote the song I never thought that it would pay me back in such a great way.”
The “Anonzi Mutsvene” hit-maker said he also appreciated his spiritual parents Prophet Makandiwa and his wife.