Some sceptics have always believed that the relationship between Prophet Magaya and his newly-found convert was more like that of grass and dew, which just needed sunshine. They may have been right. Bev being the dew; the sunshine that she needed was a revival of the entertainment circuit. A footnote will do here, when Bev joined Magaya’s PHD (nothing to do with scholarly work, but a ministry that prides itself in Prophetic Healing and Deliverance), it was in January, when the entertainment scene is usually heavily subdued.
PHD seemed to offer deliverance from the liquidity crunch obtaining in the entertainment circuit. But now that entertainment spots are a hive of activity, it would seem logical that Bev is tempted back to what she knows best.
In all this hullabaloo that has been Bev the pole dancer, few have bothered to find out who really Beverley is and why she does what she does. No one has bothered to find out why she chose dancing for a profession, from a myriad of other professions. Few, if any, have bothered to get into her inner personality.
Shambare night spot in Mbare is hardly the place you would want to get intimate with a personality, especially in the mould of Beverley, but as chance and time would dictate, that is where we hooked up with her on Wednesday, “because if you don’t talk to me now you won’t be able to, as I am leaving today for South Africa”.
It was only appropriate to start off with the more recent developments, of which she clearly said she had no misgivings about the Prophet Magaya experience and that her only problem was with his congregants, some, if not most, who were or are bitter with the preferential treatment that she was getting.
“It’s not like I went out to court Magaya, he is the one who asked me to come out of dancing, with promises that he would take care of my welfare — and that of my backing girls — but that has not gone down well with some of the members of his church, who think I am being paid to attend church. Besides, since he came from Nigeria he has not been picking any calls and we don’t have anyone to tell that we are starving,” she moaned.
“I have never had a father in my life,” she said, letting in on the other side that few have bothered to dwell on, “and when Prophet Magaya came into my life, somehow I was relieved that I had found someone who I could talk to, someone whose shoulder I could lean on, I saw the father I never had, in Prophet Magaya.”
Born in a large family, “we were five from my mother’s side and five from my father’s side”; her upbringing has had a large bearing on what she does today, on why she chose dancing for a profession. Though she started off her life in Greendale, which is one of Harare’s more affluent suburbs, going to Selbourne Routledge Primary School, which itself is a hallmark of life being well-lived, that she ended her schooling at Magunje’s Charles Clarke, having passed through one or two schools in Chitungwiza, paints a picture of a girl who never had a stable family background.
And she made no secret, in the thirty minute interview, of her checkered family unit, protesting this and that detail of how she was mistreated by this and that brother or sister.
Add to that, she is only 23 years old and is already a mother to a six-year-old son; a clearer picture begins to add up. “I am only 23 years and most people are surprised to see me first time. ‘Ndo kaBev kacho,’ they always exclaim. But that is who I am,” she said.
But it is her family — her brothers and sisters — who give her a lot of discomfort. “They are the same people, when I was growing up, who gave me a torrid time, they might have been right or wrong, but I think they treated me unfairly. Now that I am popular, they all come to me but they are the same people who chased me away from home, they are the same people who never accepted me.
“Now they are saying I am not using the right surname, that my real name is Banda, but Banda was my stepfather. How could I use my stepfather’s name? They now go around saying lots of things about me, because I am now popular. Well, when they come into town, I take them in, because they are my brothers and sisters. What can I do? I cannot chase them away like they did to me.”
That checkered family set-up saw her take to night life at a pretty early age, “and I ended up doing modelling, dancing at ladies’ nights and anything that I thought could enhance my dancing skills. I was a cheerleader at school and I knew from back then that I had the talent and I only needed to hone it”.
She said Hapaguti Mapimhidze, her manager, who is popular in entertainment circles as Harpers, was the closest person she had to a brother, father and uncle. “Harpers is everything to me. That is why I saw Prophet Magaya as a salvation because he had promised to be the father figure, I saw him as a father. Now I am back with Harpers, and we are back to our old ways.”
Beverley’s mother passed away in 1998 and her father in 2004, “when I was doing Form 1”.
She said because she was born into a Catholic family, she was always God-fearing and prayed by herself at home, mostly because of her tight schedule which saw her performing into the small hours of Sunday, such that it would almost be impossible to attend Sunday services.
“Then one Sunday I thought I should just attend church, it could have been any other church, but I chose PHD, because of the popularity it had around. I went there for two Sundays and then it was reported in one of the papers that I was attending PHD. Then one Sunday, whilst we were resting at home, I got a phone that I should leave whatever I was doing and attend an ongoing church service, because the prophet has seen something about me.
“Looking back now,” cuts in Harpers, “we don’t think it was any prophesy but that Magaya wanted to raise the profile of his church and wanted to use celebrities to lure people to his church. The initial arrangement was that everyone in the Sexy Angels would be taken care of, that I was to be the manager of the shop and the girls were to have their rents and daily upkeep taken care of. True, in the beginning the arrangement worked, but of late the pickings have been erratic and we needed to survive.”
On suggestions that Harpers could be the force behind influencing Bev back to the stage, “as she was his only source of income”, Harpers said Bev’s decision to return to the dancing stage was unilateral and he was not part of that decision. “She made up her decision to go back to stage on realising that her financial position was deteriorating everyday. In any case, I had made a decision to start a new life, though deep down I knew that Bev would come back to the stage.”
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