Kumba kwaMambo hunzai, zvese ndezvakeeee!

The song had a bit of a touch. A high pitched, unique, piercing surge had to close it out. Sentimental yet synonymous.

The mastermind of that classy end was a man who answered to the name Zvatinoda Paul Gandanzara.

In the early hours of September 21, 2021, Sekuru Paul, in the confines of West End Hospital, pressed the life exit button after a valiant fight with colon cancer.

The man who ate music, lived music, breathed music will never serenade us with another of those endings, never stand to give his expectant attentive choir a key, or at best stand in the left side corner of the MUMC choir to give a distinct variation with his tenor and the rattle.

No wonder the main church choir reverberated into song last night at his Arcadia residence. It was the ultimate honour.

The fifth born in a family of 10, Gandanzara was born on 12 February 1950 and did his education at Old Mutare Mission and later on worked at Survivor General then later mining engineering under the Ministry of Mines as an administration officer.

His life in church sprouted from Harare Circuit (St Paul Mbare) where he horned and nurtured his musical career from a young age and brought his talents to Cranborne for the better part of the last 25 years.

Music being his passion, he was a long term choir director alongside his late pal Samuel Patrick Machiri and nurtured Liberty Maziti, Thandiwe Ndoro and Peter Maziti making for a strong, cohesive unit that trailblazed the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area, racking numerous accolades.

He was associate chairperson for Worship and Beautification and served as a committee member for many years.

Before that, he chaired the Workshop Committee between 1997 -1998 and was a committe member for Building in 2006.

He was an advisor for the MUMC alongside Elias Chikomo and under their guidance came the most successful period in the Cranborne MUMC history as they became district and conference music champions as well as release their second and most successful album to date, Jesu Anotida.

The church honoured him and his fellow directors in 2016 during Laity Week for their contributions in music.

He was also part of the fabled six man musical outfit Global Good Hope Quartet.

With his passing, the group now is left with four members after the passing recently of Ezekiel Mutasa.

Social media was awash with tributes from all over the world as they hailed the musical impact and contributions Gandanzara had on the musical circuit.

Maziti, chronicled how for 20 years, he earned his stripes under his wings, bemoaning the loss of the souls of this church.

“Its unbelievable that vasharukwa vari kuenda. He allowed me to grow in music under his watch as a young man. He game me a chance to show what i could do and respected me despite his age. We would meet and discuss and laugh on different issues. Till we meet again Nyati. Such a dedicated music legend of our time. An all weather musician par excellence,” he said.

Former circuit lay leader Tonderai Manyeza echoed the same sentiments on social media.

“This is a big loss to the family, Cranborne Circuit and the body of Christ in general. A passionate worshipper and singer in the Kingdom of God.”

Today, his body will make one final walk into the place he called home for many years for one final time for a service at 4pm before the body lies in state at his Arcadia residence ahead of burial in Gandanzara Village, Rusape tomorrow (Thursday).

He leaves behind wife Julie and four children Nyasha, Vimbai, Mazvita, Catherine and six grandchildren.

A service was held last night at his home with Mai Dorothy Mahwira giving the keynote sermon.

In one of his classic songs with his choir, Gandanzara would do lead vocals on the song Zororo.

“Zororo zororo woye, zororo riri kudenga”

Indeed he knew too well true rest comes from the Lord and yesterday, he indeed answered the Call.

He leaves us bereft musically. That tenor, that genius, that unique Midas Touch. Leadership, discipline, commitment, dedication, sacrifice.

He inspired generations, young and old, brought success to a musical home that is Cranborne and the thought of staging a performance without him is an unimaginable reality.

Indeed , a champion, as many are calling him, has joined the already big Heavenly Orchestra.

Nyati, as his peers called him, Bla G as the young liked to call him, he took it all in.

He will sing no more. His song, though is a legacy cast in stone.

Fare thee well Champ, Fare thee well Nyati, Fare thee well Bla G.

There can and they will always be one Zvatinoda Paul Gandanzara.

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