Some gospel music fanatics across the country have bemoaned lack of moral values allegedly seen at gospel shows in the country of late.
Some patrons of the show say it is hard to differentiate a gospel show to a secular show these days because what happens at gospel shows almost surpasses what happens at secular shows.
Commenting on the development in an interview on Monday, Pastor Clement Kaunda of United Methodist Church, says he personally feels out of place when at a gospel show because everything happening there ranging from the dancing tactics, fashion of dressing by female fans, the actions of some gospel musicians themselves and many other things happening there leaves a lot to be desired.
“I myself have made a decision not to attend any of these gospel shows anymore. Even what is seen in gospel videos these days, one wonders whether it is portraying true Christianity or not. I used to like attending gospel shows then, but now I see nothing spiritual or godly there,” Kaunda said.
Bayana Chunga author of a Gospel Wings of Hope Column in the Sunday Times comments on the same: “We live in an ever changing world. Things that were absolute a decade ago are no longer absolutes anymore.
“Sometimes you do not even know what to trust. The church too has evolved. There was a time when dancing in most churches was non-existent. Choirs stood in attention and sang their songs. For those who danced, movement was kept at a modest pitch .Today, hell has broken loose. There is very little difference between church and secular dancing. Choir members leave the stage sweating.”
However, Voice of Livingstonia Reporter and Producer, Rhoda Misiska who is also a long time fan of gospel shows, says the problem is not dancing tactics or the dressing but artists and organisers of the shows.
“Malawians have now and again been duped of their money through these shows through fake advertisements that such and such a singer will be in attendance just to realise it was a total trick to attract fans. So these are some of the things attracting such comments and ill will,” Msiska said.
Commenting on the matter, Great Angels Choir Music Director, Ephraim Zonda says he applauds the gospel fans for their support and for coming in the open to highlight the weaknesses they encounter at gospel shows.
On the dressing code at gospel shows by most female fans, Zonda insisted that everyone knows pretty well that where she or he is going is at the gospel show hence the blame should go to the patrons themselves for choosing to do so not the gospel musicians.
“Though we as gospel musicians, we sometimes talk and advise our fans to be descent and careful when it comes to the way they dress and present themselves at gospel shows.
“On the issue of dancing I will say, it depends on the religious background a person is coming from, hence it is difficult for me to comment on that,” Zonda said.
He advised his fellow gospel musicians and gospel fans across the country to work together in keeping the popular goal of bringing the gospel of Christ to the whole world.
Maggie Mangani, one of the popular gospel stage musicians, disagreed with the assertions saying the way a show takes place also depends on how one has promoted it.
“The more we invest, the more we harvest, a show with poor publicity attracts few fans while a show with more publicity attracts more fans hence our gospel shows attracting the same fans everyday who in return study our behaviour and start circulating such rumours that gospel shows have lost taste because of the conduct of gospel musicians and gospel fans,” Mangani says.
She argues gospel musicians are also the most respectable dressed people in the music industry.
“When we go back to the Bible we will realise that the devil was once director of music in Heaven before he was thrown down on earth. So all these dancing styles are from heaven only that the devil stole them all from us in the course making us Christians believe that these other dancing styles are not godly. All these dancing styles are worth it and there is no any problem dancing for God,” said Mangani.
Mangani added that the same people who blame gospel artists for dancing weirdly are the ones who dance profusely at weddings.
Attempts to hear the side of Music Association of Malawi (MAM) President, Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango proved futile as he could not be reached on his mobile phone after several attempts. (By Tiwonge NdauBlantyre, February 20, Mana)