Gwamba swims against the tide

Two years ago, local hip hop star Gwamba—real name Duncan Zgambo—announced his allegiance to start serving God which subsequently led to his  switch from doing secular music to gospel music.

It was a move which was met with a lot of cynicism; many thought he would not last a week in the service of the Lord and doing gospel music and some thought it was the end of him musically.

Gwamba (R) performs with Kelly Kay at the recent Nyasa Music Awards

And yet some saw the hand and allure of his brother in-law’s riches Prophet Shepherd Bushiri all over his decision, and they said he could not manage to sustain the demands of being a born-again Christian and a gospel musician on that premise.

Today, the 27-year-old looks set to confound the cynics who had almost written him off as he is still hard at it, producing chart bursting songs, party favourites and raking in numerous awards as a gospel artist.

In an interview, Gwamba says: “There is always a time when one has to make big decisions and choices guided by special wisdom. And that turning point was my time. Music is not just music, it is God’s given talent.

“The same God who gave me this talent guided me and it is him who is also helping me sustain myself as a gospel musician. And so far, it has been great and fulfilling feeling serving his name through the talent he gave me.”

So far he has released one gospel album, Jesus is my Boss  which had the club favourite Zidzakhala Better and he has recently released an EP tilted In Advance, which is riding on the wave of the hit song Mbama.

He has continued to thrive, and his collaboration with long-time close allay Kelly Kay on the single Hello Mr Yesu proved that gospel or secular, Gwamba is a musician with a special artistic finesse, who knows what he does.

“God is leading me through. He cannot lead me astray so I will survive, survive and survive until he decides otherwise. I am sailing through and I cannot feel any storm,” he says.

Perhaps his association with God has brought another dimension about him that we did not know until now. His charity work adventures have also revealed the philanthropist which lay in him all this while.

He has reached out to underprivileged children from many areas, notably at one orphanage—Pashello Charitable Trust—in Chikwawa, street children registered under the Chisomo Chidren’s Club in Lilongwe, setting up a youth football trophy in Ntcheu and a netball trophy in Area 18 Lilongwe.

“This mission is about doing God’s work. Not just by doing music but by serving God’s people in many other ways,” he says.

The artist is also currently running the Mbama challenge dance competition which focuses on promoting raw and young talent by giving them the platform to show the world their dancing skills.

The ultimate winner in the competition will walk away with K250 000 plus a chance to perform live with the artist and featuring in one of his music videos.

Kelly Kay has worked with Gwamba of old and the current version and he says the difference in character between Gwamba who did secular and gospel music is discernible.

“You can actually differentiate between the places that he loved hanging out in before. It is no longer the same. But one thing has remained constant about him, he still loves to work with his friends and always aims for the best when he embarks on a project.

“He has always been humble. As such, working with him is very easy. He gives you all the freedom to fuse in your ideas according to your abilities and that is probably his greatest strength as an artist,” he says.

His manager Timothy Ntilosanje says Gwamba has remained true to the values that made him and catapulted him into fame, his belief for hard work and discipline, which he trusts have helped kept him afloat all this while.

“There is no denying that the guy is super talented. When he went into gospel music what changed was just the content of his lyrics not his style or skill. His work ethic is second to none which compliments his in-born talent,” he said.

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