- MultiChoice celebrates local heroes
Gospel music has been a part of Pastor G’s life since he was a small child going to church, so it was no surprise for his family and friends when it became the focus of his adult life.
He is now firmly established on the gospel music scene and intends to remain committed to the music he loves, in service of God.
“I have always dreamed of using my singing ability in service of God, and I believe he is firmly in control. So I know the current time of lockdown and the fear of Covid will pass and we shall get back to being with loved ones again, and doing the things we love, like going to church,” Pastor G said.
Born Stanley Gwanzura in the 1970s to his parents, Albert and Tracy, in Lusaka, he received primary education in Zambia, and the family moved home to Zimbabwe in time for him to start his senior school education, attending Ellis Robins School in Mabelreign, Harare.
He was the youngest of five children, with three sisters and a brother, the latter now passed away, like his parents.
His family told him that as a small child he used to get up and dance in the front of the church when the drums played during services and although he would get a reprimand from his mother for doing it, it showed early in his life the attraction to music that has been the hallmark of his later life and career.
He started singing in the choir at Ellis Robins, and in the years he was there, 1984 to 1989, he grew to love music. He also sang at church, attending a youth group of the Calvary Baptist Church, where his love for music of praise and worship was born. The Ellis Robins choir, under the direction of Liz Coid, won the key choral award at the National Institute of Allied Arts’ 1989 Eisteddfod, and he was awarded school colours for singing.
After leaving school he continued singing and used backtracks to sing to the music of such well-known gospel names as Bebe and CeCe Winans, Steve Green and Steve Curtis Chapman. He and a group of friends formed a group called Tidings of Love and recorded their own album with Fortune Mparutsa in 1999, releasing it publicly the following year. On this album was a track called Ndiani Achata, which became a hit.
More recordings with done with Tidings of Love, with three albums following the first, featuring songs such as Vangeri and Ngoma Yoira. While still with the group he also released a solo album called Tariro, and since then he has produced a total of 11 solo albums.
Touring other countries has been a by-product of his singing; he has been to the United States four times, and has also toured Australian, Kenya, Uganda and much of Southern Africa. Awards and award nominations have come his way, including four ZIMA nominations, a contemporary’s gospel artiste award at the Pemmican Awards and other accolades.
Pastor G has been thrilled to be able to open shows for international singers like Israel Otton, Kirk Franklin and Donnie Mclurkin, and he has also sung at Franklin’s church in the USA. Mentoring young singers is something he is now very keen on, and he has been working with a group called Wanat Worship, a result of his One Heart global initiative, which seeks to help people grow their music and carry out good work in the community.
Radio has been a key element in Pastor G’s career, doing Sunday evening DJ work on the then Radio 3 with an emphasis on inspirational and gospel. More recently, his song Indestructible was the first of his music to be played on Star FM.
“What’s better for me than awards is hearing some one say how my music has changed a life or helped a person through hard times, and impacting people’s lives is what gospel music is all about,” he said.
In 2008 he was selected by MultiChoice to be a country judge for the popular M-Net Idols Africa reality show, an experience that he enjoyed and from which he gained a perspective on just how much musical talent exists in Africa, including Zimbabwe.
“I think singing competitions are excellent, as they help young people find a place in the spotlight and even gain prominence,” he said.
“They uncover and develop this talent and I was delighted to be part of this show. DStv has platformed many shows like The Voice, Idols and Old Mutual Amazing Voices, giving us an opportunity to see and enjoy the diversity of talent.”
Pastor G is a DStv fan, enjoying the religious, music and food channels, as well as films and action programmes such as NCIS.
“I love One Gospel and Trace Gospel channels, as they feature what I love best and I get great inspiration from them. But all the content on DStv is good and I enjoy the depth and variety, especially what I learn from them.“
Pastor G believes Zimbabweans should see beyond the Covid crisis to better times ahead and to being able to dream and thereafter make dreams come true.
“In times like this we learn to adapt and adjust and we learn new things or new ways of doing things,” he said.