16 January 2018
… ‘I sold 38000 copies on my own’
…‘I’m proud of my siblings’ success’
IT’S a Friday afternoon when a grinning Amos Mahendere ushers us inside his 15-roomed double storey house in Unit G Extension, Chitungwiza.
As he ushers us inside his spacious lounge, Mahendere makes us feel at home as the wide ranging interview is about to begin.
Clad in a formal silver shirt exposing his ‘popping’ muscles, matching cargo pants and sandals, Mahendere can’t hide his elation.
“I thought you were no longer coming,” says the usually hyperactive singer known for his energetic performances on stage.
Before we could get into the interview, the excited Mahendere calls his wife Noliwe to join us for the interview.
The interview is briefly ‘disrupted’ when Mahendere’s wife along with their daughter Trish bring African delicacies for launch.
“I was worried too that you were no longer coming after I had prepared all this for you after we heard you were coming,” says the bubbly Noliwe as she joined us for lunch.
After the lunch, Mahendere opens up on his seven year hiatus which had prompted many to conclude he had joined the music cemetery.
“I’m aware people were saying a lot of funny stories claiming I was now a spent force,” says the singer.
The body-building mad singer, says he is still involved in music since it remains his calling.
“At the moment, I have been doing a lot of production work, especially for the party (Zanu PF) doing jingles.
“For the record, I was the one who gave Mbare Chimurenga Choir that name after they approached me in the studios with intention to record.
“Of course they had their sponsors but after working with them, I decided to give them the name Mbare Chimurenga Choir.
“I also formed Born Free Crew I realised that the youngsters had talent but they lacked guidance and professionalism.
“My background as a producer dates back to 2002 when I played my part in the Score Warriors jingle which was penned by Professor Jonathan Moyo.
“I also did a number of jingles like Bearers Cheque, Ramba Makashinga, Zesa Yauya Zvine Power among other projects.”
Mahendere says working with the ruling party came saw him winning both friends and enemies.
“The bold move I took to work for Zanu PF was met with mixed feelings since the appeal was no longer the same.
“Some of the promoters who used to invite us for like shows stopped forth-with and the appeal was no longer the same.
“After realising that the appeal was no longer the same, I decided to specialise in music production and that is the same period I decided to start building my house as well as selling my music with a van.”
SPENT FORCE TAG
Mahendere says the decision he took to sell his music in his community paid off even though many concluded he had fallen on hard times.
“I would move around Chitungwiza selling my CDs and people would say I was struggling to make ends meet.
“I was the first gospel artiste to sell his own music and during a period I sold over 38000 copies for a dollar and managed to build this house.
“I would sell 100 copies per day and I managed to look after my family as well as looking after my beautiful wife.”
Mahendere vividly remembers 2012 as the singer had a brush with the law.
He grabbed headlines for allegedly giving a kombi driver a thrashing as well as pointing a gun at him following an altercation over the volume of the radio.
“I still remember the case, but I have forgotten about the details; ndidzo dzinonzi mhepo ka dziya.
“As celebrities, we are bound to face such temptations and what is important is how you rise after facing such challenges.
“In my case, prayer helped ne to conquer and I have forgotten about it.”
While his sibling Michael is unquestionably the most sought after among his siblings after going solo, Mahendere is proud of their success.
“We have been praying for this to happen over the years contrary to reports that I was now being overshadowed.
“We still work together and we are always in touch and during the Christmas holiday, we prayed together in this house.
“I have always supported them to be their own men and they were earning more than me because they doubled as session musicians for other artistes.
“Currently, Misheck is in South Africa where he is a pastor while Michael leads Zone 12 of UFIC and he has offices at Kingstons House in the capital.
“My siblings are reputable instrumentalists and they honed their skills under great names like Isaac Chirwa and I am proud of them because Michael can now look after his wife and children while Misheck is also doing well in South Africa where he is working with Pastor Dagada.”
Despite pursuing solo careers, Mahendere says the group’s founding members are still alive.
“Last year in August, we had a reunion show at the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex and it was indeed an amazing reunion we had as a team.
“My brother Ackim was there and he played the keyboard while drummer Misheck flew all the way from South Africa with Michael and Antony Gasani completing the set of instrumentalists.
“The only absentee was Fraser our rhythm guitarist who suffered a stroke and he can hardly play the guitar but he attended the show.
“We had a nice time as a family as we shot a live DVD due for release soon once we are done with the mixing.
“I was busy and that’s why it took me long to finalise the CD and I hope all will be in place soon and it would be available to fans.”
During the interview, Mahendere revealed he had assumed a new role as a pastor.
“As you can see, I am now a pastor but my area of specialty is ministering through music,
“My brother Michael is now a pastor and his area of jurisdiction is Zone 12 where he is in charge of UFIC congregants in the CBD.
“It’s a just a calling that we all have and we will continue serving the Lord.”
Despite keeping a low profile, Mahendere still cherishes some of his achievements promising more to come.
“I have won a number of awards including NAMA for Best Video in 2006, Zimpraise Legacy in 2012, Best Indigenous Group and a Permican at UFIC.
“I am also a member of UFIC and Prophet Makandiwa is my spiritual father. We were some of the ‘rebels’ who left AFM along with him and we have since settled at his church.
BODY BUILDING CRAZE
Unlike most artistes who use drugs to enhance their performances, Mahendere has his own way.
“I like pumping weights and I am always in the gym. I don’t smoke or drink and that is why I have all the energy on stage.
“My wife too is now taking to the gym and I was shocked that she loves it so much.
“I advised her that a celebrity’s wife should keep a good frame and my wife is now pumping weights and she enjoys the morning job.”
Despite his commitments in the studio, Mahendere has since started an ambitious peace project.
“I have assembled a group called ZIM Afro Family which is made up of artistes from Harare, Bulawayo, Kwekwe and Chipinge.
“We have since recorded our first production titled Our Heritage carrying tracks like National Anthem (rendition from Solomon Mutsvairo), Tiri Mhuri Imwe (Siyi Muli Nye, Mashoko Ekubatana (Amanzwi Okubambana, Ilizwe Lethu (Inyika Yedu and Ngatibatanei Asibambaneni.
“Our vision is to create a unique group which appeals across all races and tribes like PaxAfro which had a number of talented artistes from various tribes.”
After the interview, Mahendere took H-Metro around the house and he introduced us to his family.
Mahendere is blessed with four daughters – Lisa (21), Trish (18), Happiness (late) two-year-old daughter Felicia – and son Joshua (six).