I’m not a church person: Fungisai
Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave

I’m not a church person: Fungisai

CONTROVERSIAL artiste Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave has shockingly revealed that she is not a gospel musician and never wanted to be labelled as such.
In fact, the artiste who recently collaborated with Zim dancehall chanter Killer T, on a song called “Vanondibatirana” says, “I have been trying to untangle myself from this maze”.

Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave
Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave

Are these revelations true? Is this not an act of desperation and survival tactic by a fading artiste? Whatever the case, Fungisai has never been the one to shy away from controversy. In the formative years of her career, sixteen years ago, she caused a stir with her sense of dressing, which most Christians found offensive or rather un-Christian.
Later on she proclaimed that she would never share the stage with secular musicians let alone collaborate with them but made an about-turn when it suited her. She offended uncircumcised men when she called them “useless” a few years ago and now she is distancing herself from gospel music. She has had several spats with fellow artistes and promoters alike and she always speaks her mind.
The mother of three, says when she decided to make music her career, she did not plan to sing gospel music exclusively but was forced into it by a producer who believed it suited her style. She says she has been battling with the norms of society ever since she was labelled a gospel artiste back then.
“Problem yangu inenge yemakaradhi. Unogona kukwana kuma blacks wokwana futi kumavheti asi kwese usinganyatsotambirwa (my problem is like that of mixed race people. They can fit in with both races yet they are not quite accepted). What do I mean? The church loves me so much … but they only want me for crusades where they want me to bring the house down with good danceable music to wow the crowds.
“When it comes to serious worship, they doubt me and they do not fully accept me. They do not think I’m spiritually there. They are like ‘but Fungisai was singing at Luciano’s gig last night wearing salt and pepper jeans – is she serious?’ And on the other hand secular musicians also have their reservations about me. They say ‘ndewechurch (she is a church person)’. In the end I do not quite fit in.”
Fungisai’s latest effort “Social Facts 2”, a seven-track album, carries only one gospel track. The rest are love songs and other social commentaries riding on that deep traditional chimurenga beat popularised by Dr Thomas Mapfumo.
Her favourite instrument, mbira, dominates the entire album and Fungisai does not make any apologies for it.
The “Makomborero” singer says while most people see this as rebranding, it is not so. “This has always been in me. I think I’m mature enough now. There was a time when people decided things for me. Now I can defend my beliefs and stand for myself. This is who I am. I haven’t changed.
“I do not want to be locked up in some … you know sometimes it is like I’m being punished for believing. I do not have to denounce my Christianity before I’m accepted as a professional artiste. Give me a stage anywhere, anytime with anyone,” she said.
Fungisai says she regrets letting other people run her affairs and decide what music she would sing.
“I have regrets, of course, because I had this Fungisai that I had in mind when I started music. I put my destiny in other people’s hands. They decided what kind of an artiste I was going to become,” she lamented.
“When I approached the studio for the first time, I had my social songs on one hand and my gospel songs on the other. The producer said I was feminine and people would accept me if I sang gospel. For me I was like okay, because I got to sing and it complemented what I believe in as a child of God.
“However, I did not know what they were doing to the brand. Before I knew it the producer had turned me into this preacher girl. Which is something I have carried for a very long time. I have tried to be that girl but it has its setbacks. I’m limited as to who I perform with, where I perform and what to perform.”
The musician’s website and social media platforms proclaim the artiste as an Afro-contemporary artiste — a direction she confirmed she has recently aggressively embarked on.
“I have a dream, which still has to come true. I want to be an influential artiste on the world music front. For me the key thing is I’m an artiste. Before we talk about which religion I follow, my belief systems and so forth, I want to be in music for the music.
“…at the end of the day I want to perform any music that is of value to my society. I have always been determined to be myself. People have this Fungisai; the ideal person and I always have to fight to say there is the ideal me and the real me. I wish for people to understand and accept the person that I am, not the person they want me to be.
“Look even at the video of Makomborero, I would wear my leather boots and cap, and people would say, what, munhu we church. You will find that I have teamed up with Tuku (Oliver Mtukudzi), Jah Prayzah and now with Killer T. You find people saying ah munhu we church. Handisimunhu we church ini (I’m not a church person). Everyone has got their own church where they go to. Music is a profession for me and that has always been my approach and that is how I want to be understood.
“But there is always this stigma surrounding gospel musicians. If you say music is my profession it is like you are a sinner. My friends, the people I identified with at school, they are doctors. I was intelligent. I could have chosen a different career path but I chose music as a career so that I could sing anything.
“When I look at people like Lira and Zahara when they come here to perform I beat myself. Because I know I could be them or even better. I feel I can be very competitive and be on the same level with them but the challenge is the moment you are labelled a gospel artiste you are tied down, you can’t do this, you can’t eat, you can’t breathe, you can’t rest like that, you can’t go there. I love Christ but that should not be used to limit my creativity as an artiste.
“For instance, nurses or doctors, it is a profession, and they are working. There are no Christian doctors or Christian nurses, a doctor is a doctor.”
Fungisai says for years she has tried to show people who she really is but has always been misunderstood.
“My beat is chimurenga and chingende. I have been trying to untangle myself from this maze that I found myself in. But then you hear that Fungisai we church avekuenda ku Jazz 105, Fungisai has performed with Joe Thomas.
“As you can see, the inner person in me is battling the norms of society. Right from the onset you would hear that I have performed with Bongo Maffin, I would perform with Luciano with all that smoke. It has always been like that. It is not that easy but I have managed to say this is who I am and I hope with time people will love me for the person that I am, not the person they want me to be.”
Fungisai, however, says she remains a God-fearing Christian who is inspired by the Word.
“However, everything I do, everything I sing is inspired by God. But because I love God I do not have to be singing about God all the time. We have to interact with society.
“I’m passionate about music. I have a gift of writing music and performing the songs. That is what has kept me afloat. If I stop singing I’ll die. I am not afraid to express myself. But the norm is if you are like me people will attack you for that. I’m a free spirit, I have a strong character and I believe in standing up for what I believe in.”
The “Handina Kururama” singer had a message for her fans and music lovers in general.
“I want people to know that I am an artiste and I love God. But I chose music as a career. Music came first and then the ministry. My love for Christ should not limit my creativity as an artiste. I wish for people to understand me from that perspective.
“I pray for such a time when everyone will be able to understand that as Christains we can be different … I want to be able to perform like any other artiste under the sun.
“I just want to be an artiste with no prefects, no boundaries. People expect to hear that I do music to preach to many people bla bla bla. I am in showbiz, I’m a brand and I will not limit myself to a certain social group. I want Muslims, Hindus and Christians alike to all enjoy my music.
“I am revisiting my old material. The music I was told by my producer back then to throw away. In 2016 I want people to know that side of me and I want to explore it. I want to be more visible. I want people to understand the artiste that I am.
“I want to be anywhere and everywhere. Killer T and I will be doing shows together. I have already started responding to some inquiries. I believe God does not have a problem with it,” she said as a parting shot.
Fungisai was born on January 27 1981. “Social Facts 2” is her 10th album. She has travelled and performed both regionally and internationally. She is involved in various charitable activities and sits on various boards. She is married to Courage Mashavave, a banker, and they have three kids, Tawananyasha, Matipanyasha and Wenyasha.

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  • Tengenenge

    I know newsmen need to scandalise but what she is saying is very clear: “I am a musician and dont want to be boxed in one music category..” . very different from “I am not a church person”.
    By the way half of the songs in Killer-T s famous album are gospel songs

    • gm

      Read properly, she has been quoted in the story saying, “l am not a church person”.

      • Tengenenge

        her words there are very clear, she means was not owned by the church

      • Tengenenge

        the literal translation of “handisi munhu wechurch” is deliberate mischief

  • jones

    Muchavaona nezvibereko zvavo ko mazambiringa anombotanhiwa parukato here

  • KN

    Fungisai if you think of re-branding yourself just do it quietly, stop pointing fingers at other people. You introduced yourself to us some years back as a gospel musician, don’t even try to convince us that some producer arm twisted you into it. You carried that gospel artist face for years, coz people had fallen in love with you as a gospel artist and you were enjoying the limelight. Its only now that your fame as a gospel musician is gone and you start blaming other people. When it suited you, you were ok with being known as a gospel artist. If you think singing in bars and night clubs will rekindle your popularity, do it quietly. This world will never run short of gospel musicians.

    • Joshua Sameway

      Thanks a lot. I listened to the song she featured Killer T and im like what, this lady is good at gosple music. In short, the word of God through music will be preached to the very end no matter who leave it.

      Im from liberia but really inlove with zimbabwe Gosple musics.

  • dusty

    I hear her. And she is right and has a right to push her career in a path she chooses.
    I am curios about this new offering.
    Its sad the writer instead of offering Fungisai’s viiews is judging rather. Its an interview

    • tafamutekwe

      True. The interviewer chose to cloud his interview with his own subjective opinions.

  • tafamutekwe

    Its difficult to shake off a label that society will have glued on you. Gospel artists especially, are expected to be “holier-than-thou” and to”preach” to an “ungodly” society, even though they may not be pastors. They are expected to be squicky clean, with a snow-white heart . If they dare go astray the very society will immediately crucify them to the nearest poplar tree like what used to happen to rebellious negros.That is the heavy burden carried by so-called gospel artists which does not shackle secular musicians like Macheso or Killer T to the same chains. I presume if one dare to harvest from God’s holy estate then that is the pre-condition. I wonder how Rebecca Malope defied the odds because she sings gospel music despite leading an outrageously secular lifestyle; without any apologies to anyone yet South Africans have accepted her on her own terms! (She really must be a music genius!)One thing clear though is that Fungisai is a music star and no-one can take that away from her regardless of what she does or sings. She reminds me of other music greats who went on to unshackle themselves from labels that the music fraternity had also glued on them; I am talking about Nat King Cole and George Benson who were perceived to be jazz artists but they went on to greater heights by playing popular (pop) music and by so doing disappointing legions of jazz purists. I have also lost count of the number of times Earl Klugh has tried to explain to interviewers that he is not a jazz artist but merely a guitar player.

  • Difficult Munetsi

    She is right. I have always argued with many on the real definition of a gospel artist. I remember once criticising Matthias Mhere’s not-biblically-true statement “vana vakabarirwa murenje ndivo vakashungurudza Moses”. The problem with most “gospel” artistes is that they dont read the bible but want to sing bible stories.
    Second and biggest problem is with us listeners. Wese angoti mwari kana jesu tototi anoimba gospel. From Fungisai’s song iya ye marriage yake, it made waves on TV and Radio’s gospel programmes but anybody that cared to listen, nothing gospel is in that song at all. Just somebody washing her dirty linen in public.

  • Boss Truth

    There is no need to tell us all this.Just do what you decide.Why do i have a feeling you are feeling guilty and want to defend your actions.Follow the inner person and when you do that you dont have any explanation to do.

  • Memory

    mamusicians ,prophets, politicians, business pple, lawyers and doctors. a lot of them have joined the satanic world .they go to NIgeria to get powers , thru annointing oils and other things, so these things zvine time limit.for the doctors ,i want to advice all patience to pray before visiting them ,


    i get your point and go for it. You should be allowed to sing what you want, chero zvisingakurudzire uipi munyika. Kuva secular musician hazvirevi kuti munhu ave mutadzi. Fungisai imba zvaunoda, kana iri good music people will support you, asi mukaimba zvinyadzi tinozokunyarirai.

  • MemaZimbo

    Pathetic ! This is unbelievable. The Christian world are shocked by this revelation. May The Good Lord deliver our beloved sister from the rulers of this world.

  • Steve Nyoka

    I knew from day one kuti kuimba Gospel aitsvaga zhunde.Tingamudii arikutsaga kurarama.Zvaka fanana naTsvangirai anenge akuti ini ndiri we Zanu I was forced to form MDC neimwewo girlfriend yangu.

    • Changara


  • DK

    Fungisai is being misconstrued. I do not think she is a musician because she is a Christian. She was just born a musician and can not be limited by religion. Same as Alick Macheso and Nicholas Zakaria who have never been branded gospel artistes yet on almost all their albums since they were together up to today, the musicians are known to include songs that have a strong believers message, praising the lord, the creator of the earth and heavens. So it is about people’s perception but talents should never be limited bt religions. Siyai mwanasikana aite zvaanogona nechipo chaakapihwa na Nyadenga.

  • Brilliant Bree

    You took too long to decide or to tell the world that you are not a gospel singer. Now that will make it so hard for us to see you tweking your christian ass on stage. Good luck though.

  • Prisca Chomhare

    I think she needs a good **. Ungasiye mtobvu wakadai uchiyerera here

  • Gwawawa

    Saka MAID uye aitaura chokwadi kuti Fungisai aimunyima chikafu aboka twake ega odya nevana vake two the she is greedy and difficult to understand

  • s.m.p

    FUNGISAI is right, she has been labelled a gospel artist yes, but if you look at her tracks, are mainly social, though with an element of gospel….her music is unique, esp vanaSUPER POWER, I KNOW MY DESTINY, etc…. gospel artists are being limited and they should know that, singing the bible verses(esp old testament) doesnt help or teach the Christians nowadays, considering the way yatikurarama nayo. we need something that is different and something that will change our way of doing things, e.g tracks like Upenyu Inguva Pfupi, makandirera ndikakura, Wedding Bells, gore rapera, n the hit DAIDZAI VAKURU VAUYEEEEEEE. i am a catholic n in my PC i have more than 7gig of catholic hymms and ese mabible verses n i also read my bible everyday…manje maGospel artists akaimba bible ese where are we going to get some other personal advice. Journalists, you should think first before clouding the Judgements, its not about spicing stories muchitaura nhema…. thats not our Zimbabwe, hatiite zvakadarooo

  • Iah

    Fungisai we hear you loud and clear.Whoever wants to be judgemental to you is wrong. its fortunate when u started as a young Girl , the producer limited you into one type of music. Its time explore your gift into different dimensions. that does not mean you are forsaking God its your career path you always dreamt of.

  • Mafirakureva Mafirakureva

    Fungisai is now talking buls**t, She must tell the people the truth that she has failed in gospel music and now she want to try another way, if its what was in her heart all these years y didn’t she start that “social music alone” why is she inviting mamusician aanoziva kuti these days are on the top, hanty kuda kubatsirwa kuti pamwe mbiriyake ingadzoka. Now waakuramba kuti hausi gospel musician asi ndozvakatokupa mbiri otherwise dai tisingambozivi nezvako. Deep down in your heart you are feeling guilty thats y u are trying to put the blame on other people. Hope your husband is supporting you on all these s**t.

  • Emru Kunanti

    chawakadya chomuka Fungisai. Hanti waionererwa uchiti I will never share the stage with secular musicians. Nhasi wakuda mari wakudzoka munyika. Gara ku church ikoko

  • Tapiwa

    This is just an attempt by the writer to scandalize Fungisai. What she is saying is clear. She is first of all a musician. As an artist, its not too hard to understand her. This thing is not about money. After all, she is likely to make more by sticking to the gospel track. Challenge is people start criticizing her when she sings with Killer T. That is so wrong. Regai aridze mbira coz she is a mbira artist. Regai aimbe zvaanoda. Dont try to scare her with the bible because you are not Gods. God gave her this talent and what better place to use it than to bring in those who are in the dark by breaking into their realm and singing the love of God to them?

  • C J

    Fungisai, said she wants to reveal herself and I say God will reveal himself and show u who he is.

  • witty

    inga,,zvinoo…anouya here makomborero pakadai,hmmm hatina kururama shuwa pindirai mwari,,,ndeapi mamwe masongs ako,,,azvichameki sense and y do i feel like u been lyin ol these years…nway its your life problem is u let us listen to u lie lie lie all these freakin years,,follow your dreams i mean i would do the same,well, not exactly the way u doin it…hev to confess,u wont be missed as far as gospel music is concerned kkk good luck,u nid it

  • Erina Chauke

    Fungisai jus say kuti ndakusiya gospel ndakuedza zvimwe don’t blame others hakuna munhu angaku sarudzira zvausingade hausimwana zve nhai

  • Richard Mpofu

    Fungisai once lebelled uncircumsised men as “useless” ,is the same person asking for people not to judge her seemingly fallen brand…..if u are really that talented please jus’ stop this blame game and revive your career.Some of us loves your music.