HARARE – Veteran gospel musician Mechanic Manyeruke's unblemished service to Zimbabwe's music industry was given a fitting recognition on Saturday night during a tribute concert organised in his honour at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).
Several leading gospel musicians turned up in full force to show their reverence to the ever-smiling 71-year-old who has churned out over 26 highly-successful albums in a 40-year career.
After the Oliver Mtukudzi Tribute Concert held at the end of September this year, Saturday night was yet another opportunity for the local music industry to show that they honour their heroes while they are still alive.
Hundreds of music fans who braved the rainy weather to attend the event, got the opportunity to admire a posh Jaguar XF that will be presented to Manyeruke on December 19 during a tribute dinner to be hosted in his honour by a local company Pride Africa Network.
But while the beautiful Jaguar XF attracted endless admiring glances, the main business of the night was centred on spectacular performances that ended around midnight, an hour-and-a-half later than scheduled.
Arguably the best gospel concert this year, the Baba Manyeruke Tribute Concert was packed with thrills, surprises, comebacks and much more.
Gospel star Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave, whose ability to play the mbira is now common knowledge showed the hundreds who attended the tribute concert that she is equally good on the guitar.
The feisty gospel diva strummed the acoustic guitar as she did a beautiful cover version of Manyeruke's old classic Wakaramba Kuudzwa.
Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Voice of Mbare became the favourite of many Zimbabwean gospel musicians when they belted out Nganganga several years ago.
After experiencing a dip in recent years, the Mbare choral group used the Manyeruke Tribute Concert to show that they are now on the comeback trail.
With former national football team player Lazarus "Mali" Muhoni in their ranks, CCAP had everyone dancing to Nganganga and several of their old and new hits.
The other comeback on the night was by Bethan Pasinawako-Ngolomi. What a performance it was! The Ndinzverei singer put up a well-choreographed presentation that was one of the standout segments of the tribute concert.
Given Emmanuel "Guspy Warrior" Manyeruke's hit Seunononga – that contrasts sharply with his father's hits like Moses ? the dancehall star's performance was always going to attract unusual curiosity.
Guspy played several hits but to the disappointment of young ones in the audience, he surprisingly steered clear of Seunononga.
The other disappointment for many romantics was the failure by Guspy and his father to do a duet.
As has become the norm throughout this year, ZimPraise, who recently returned from a successful maiden international tour of the United Kingdom and Dubai, staged another memorable presentation as did the ever-improving Tembalami Tagwireyi.
But the star performers of the tribute concert were man of the moment Mechanic Manyeruke and the red-hot Mathias Mhere.
The Favour singer, in particular, justified the decision to make him the closing act on a bill that featured some of Zimbabwe's best gospel musicians.
What a moment it was when Manyeruke joined Mhere on stage when the young gospel star was performing the song Chipostora.
It was like Mhere was advising Zimbabwean gospel musicians to learn from the granddad of Zimbabwean gospel music the secret behind his long and successful four-decade career.