HAVING been led down the proverbial garden path eight years ago by one Shepherd Sirewu who promised a posh Jaguar XF car that never materialised, veteran gospel musician Machanic Manyeruke, 79, is hoping for better fortunes this time around.
Sirewu’s Pride Africa Network hosted a dinner in December 2014 to celebrate the Moses singer’s 40-year career. At the event held at the Harare International Conference Centre, the then 71-year-old artiste was allowed to have a test drive of the new Jaguar XF in the company of fellow gospel great Charles Charamba. But that was the last Manyeruke heard of the car, with Sirewu proving elusive.
Eight years after Manyeruke was sold a dummy by the wily Sirewu, music promoter Partson “Chipaz” Chimbodza has lined-up a benefit concert for the gospel artiste which the music veteran hopes will generate enough to buy a tractor.
Chipaz, with the assistance of Manyeruke’s son Guspy Warrior, hopes to hold the benefit concert as soon as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.
“Chipaz approached me with the idea and I gave him my wish list, with a tractor being my biggest wish. I want to concentrate on tilling my plot in Chiwundura (his rural home) where I built a house and there is a borehole,” Manyeruke said.
“I like it when people from different backgrounds appreciate the role I played in society through my work. I have since slowed down on music to concentrate on farming and I am glad that Chipaz saw it fit to organise a benefit concert for me.”
Asked about Sirewu’s promise that failed to materialise eight years ago, the 79-year-old musician told the Daily News on Sunday he has now forgiven the Pride Africa Network founder for the farce.
“At first it was hard to explain to the public what exactly transpired but I am now glad that Zimbabweans stood by me and all sympathised with me. They realised that I was the one approached by Sirewu, not the opposite. Because of my Christian background, I easily forgave him but rather thanked him for his wish to see me driving one of the best cars in the world.
“I remember test driving the car from the city centre to National Sports Stadium (about five kilometres). That’s when I doubted his capacity to fulfil his promise as the car was just too good. I went on to inquire if he had paid for the car only to realise they were only plans,” he said.
On his part, Chipaz has promised to do all in his power to make the mooted benefit concert bear fruit.
“I have realised that people want to honour legends posthumously. History has it that most legends died paupers but only to be honoured after their death. The planned benefit concert is part of our efforts to correct this. Let us learn as a country to appreciate outstanding people when they are still alive,” the music promoter said.
Manyeruke ventured into the music industry in the 1960s— when Gospel music was seldom heard on the national airwaves. He only made his name in showbiz in the late 1970s. Over the years, he has recorded more than 25 studio albums.