He is part of the evolving face of gospel music in Zimbabwe. A member of Eubert Angel’s Spirit Embassy Ministries International, Mudiwa Mtandwa sings what his church leader preaches at the pulpit: prosperity gospel.
His sound, barely distinguishable from the urban music dominating airplay on Zimbabwean radio, has brought him relative success but some in the Christian community question whether gospel is simply a means to an end for the young artist.
Mudiwa, the local face of the South African fragrance - Oceane Collection – seems to revel in the controversy. In one of his songs, ‘Ndaita Mari’, he answers his critics as he sings: “Ndaita Mari/Ini NdinaMwari/Usanditarise Neziso Rineruvengo [I’ve Made Money/God Is With Me/Don’t Look At Me With An Envious Eye].”
By far his greatest hit is ‘Anhu Acho Tisu’, also off his album, ‘Magnet’. The video for the track features Mudiwa rolling around in expensive cars boasting that he can afford almost anything – with God’s help he points out – and his only headache “is choosing what to buy”.
This is the Truth About: Mudiwa
Name: Mudiwa Mtandwa Hood
Stage Name: Mudiwa
Born: July 24, 1985
Home Town: Harare
Current Town: Harare
Marital Status: Single
Nyazura High School (1997-2002) and Africa University (2003-07; 2010-11)
Christian rap, hip hop gospel.
It’s been a short journey for your budding career. How did it all begin?
Well, I used to sing in the choir during my high school days. Since then I have never given up on music, but now I’m more of a rapper than a singer really. God's time is always the best time and I am sure this is my season and that’s why I’m the most sought after artist around.
Is your family musical?
Where do you draw your song writing inspiration?
I do as the spirit leads in my rapping, so my inspiration is straight from the creator.
What is your professional background besides music?
I am a holder of three degrees – a BSc (Hon) Economics, BSc (Hon) Psychology, and an MBA in Finance. Mudiwa is a business man besides ministering through music.
Which famous musicians from Zimbabwe do you look up to and why?
I admire Baba Mechanic Manyeruke simply because he made gospel so acceptable and made the path easy to walk through for some of us.
How do you rate your musical profile in Zimbabwe at the moment?
I recently spent 35 weeks on number one in the official Top 20 chart. What more can I say? The people vote and that is the most accurate way to rate!
How do you balance your music with other obligations - mates, children, and job?
Music is my life and the way I live, just as I could equally ask you how you breathe.
What links do you have with Prophet Eubert Angel of Spirit Embassy Ministries International?
I am a spiritual son to Prophet Angel.
How effective is rap music in delivering gospel messages?
Well it may be evolving phenomenon in Zimbabwe but I am happy to say it is now gaining ground! Over 5,000 copies of my ‘Magnet’ album have been sold to date and it’s only a few months after the release. This is amazing support!
How would you respond to those who say you are too pompous for a Christian?
Well, that’s a pure misinterpretation of my music. My music is more of a testimony of Jesus’ goodness if you follow him. So is it being pompous to testify what the Lord has done and can do for you if you follow him?
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
I’ve been mistaken to be a performer when I’m a minister of the gospel. I might be interesting yes, but I’m not just an entertainer, I am also a preacher. Take heed of the word I’m singing about and make use of it. Naye Jesu tiri mhene [Jesus enriches us], for he said I became poor so you may be rich.
Anhu Acho Tisu: Mudiwa Hood feat Craig Bone