BY GILBERT MUNETSI
Zimdacehall chanter and man of the moment Rodney Desire Mashandure, aka Jah Master, has spoken about how he sought divine intervention, through his spiritual father, to come back into music after having given up due to frustration.
His commitment, which involved cleaning their place of worship and singing in the church choir, now seems to have paid dividends, as he has managed to claim a place among the top artistes in the Zimdancehall genre. In fact, he is currently ruling the roost if airplay and social media site visits are anything to go by.
Jah Master, who this year released the block-buster single Hello Mwari, which arguably became the most popular as evidenced by the following it attracted on various platforms, is a member of Mercy Miracle Ministries (MMM) in Zengeza, Chitungwiza. He has been worshipping in this church since his return from South Africa a couple of years ago.
Speaking on the sidelines of last Sunday’s 45th birthday celebrations for the church’s founder, Pastor Archibald Katanha, Jah Master said:
“After having done a number of productions locally, I discovered life wanted me to seek an alterative means of livelihood, and so I packed my bags and left for South Africa where I found a job as a bar man.
“But while out there, word got to me that my music was being played so much back home and I resolved to return and re-strategise. My first port of call, of course, was the church where I sought the guidance of my spiritual father, Pastor Katanha, who has been my greatest pillar and inspiration in my journey since the return.
“I’m not new to the church as I have sung in choirs before… I could say that the musician in me was etched in the church. And so, when I went to Pastor Katanha for guidance and spiritual upliftmet, the first task he performed was to help me find where I had failed. Together we worked to ‘resurrect’ the brand called Jah Master. I have never lost focus again and I come to church Sundays to thank God for both the gift of life and for making me who I am today.”
Describing Hello Mwari as “a pattern”, the young crooner said he does not dream, but composes his music based on people’s situations and the environment from which he comes. He described himself as a creative individual who scrutinises developments and the day-to-day realities of ghetto folk.
Commenting on his recent trip to Tanzania where he met with Prophet Passion Java, Jah Master said there was not much to read into with regards a professional relationship.
“He is a sponsor who helps me whenever he can. In Dar es Salaam, we met for him to sponsor my re-mix video, that’s all. I’m not under his management though ours can also be qualified as a purely business arrangement. When he can, he extends a helping hand; and when he cannot, he does not,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pastor Katanha — who on his birthday commemorations donated foodstuffs to hundreds of less privileged members of the Chitugwiza community — hailed Jah Master for being a humble young man whom other youths in and outside the church ought to emulate.
“His story is a case study and a lesson to other youths that talent alone may not be enough, but we need God in all we do. There were stories told about people that were benefiting from his creativity, including some who were imitating him thereby snatching food from his feeding trough,” Pastor Katanha said.
“My word of advice to him though is that he should not let fame get into his head, but remain the humble character that he is (haana dzungu). He, however, has a mammoth task to keep his faith and keep what God has started for him.”
Hosted at Mubaiwa Hotel where MMM fellowships, the birthday celebrations held under the theme Act of Love (Rom 13v8) had Jah Master playing together with other popular artistes from the dormitory town who also attend the same church. Among these were Tinashe Mutandwa, Jonah and Melc Mugazi, Thucash, Akiliz, Tawanda Magunde, Innocent Mungandaire, Minister Takudzwa Charie and other supporting acts.
In a related matter, MMM head of communications Pardon Munatsi says plans are afoot to have music individually or jointly recorded by these artistes uploaded on YouTube and other social media platforms. The church, he, said, has acquired state-of-the-art instruments which are used for rehearsals by the musicians.
“The aim is to praise God as written in Psalms 150 and in creating a platform to assist especially the upcoming artistes,” Munatsi said.