Tuesday, 20 September 2011

God gave me back my sight - David Mabvuramiti Matavire's replacement

I never thought miracles happen until I met David Mabvuramiti, the blind singer who replaced the late Paul Matavire when he was jailed for rape. I had last seen him at a show in Gweru three years earlier where he had dark oversize goggles. But when I met him in Harare, he had no goggles and walked without help.He proudly told me that God had given him back his sight - Wonder Guchu


When your favourite musician goes missing on the music scene, chances are that if you search in all the churches, you will find them.
So when David "Chikomba Muwadhiropu" Mabvuramiti went 'missing' in 1997, I found him at Expo 2005, a church function, in Harare.
The last time at a show in Gweru, Mabvuramiti, who replaced the late Paul Matavire as the lead vocalist of the now defunct Jairosi Jiri Band (JJB), was blind and he wore dark glasses.
But at the Expo, he had no dark glasses and was walking without a lead.
"God gave me back my sight," Mabvuramiti declared staring at me. "I had to give up everything for him," he added.
He said his 13-year-old daughter then, Queen, who was also born blind, was also given her sight back.
Today, Mabvuramiti is a pastor whose music is about nothing but God and salvation.
"It was getting real bad," he said about his last days as the lead vocalist of JJB in the late 90s. Every time we went out for a show, people would fight and stab each other. At one show in Gokwe, I later heard that about 17 girls got pregnant after our performance.
"I sat down and asked myself whether I was doing the right thing. Those people would have come to my show and whatever happened was my fault.
'I was getting money but it was not good. I listened to God and resigned from Jairosi Jiri Band in 1997 but management would not let me go. For six months, they persecuted me by creating false allegations but I told them I had to go because God had called me."
That ended his "promising" musical career that had started in earnest after Matavire's arrest and subsequent imprisonment in 1991.
He recalled being summoned by Jairos Jiri management at short notice and was thrust into the thick and thin of action.
"It was not a very difficult task to replace Matavire since I was a member of a band at the Jairos Jiri Centre in Kadoma. Jairosi Jiri had a policy of grooming talent from the grassroots. Kadoma Centre was one of the best three schools together with Capota and Masvingo.
"I was taught how to play the guitar by the late Fanyana Dube and then I learnt the piano, marimba and flute on my own.
"In fact, some of the songs Matavire sang were taken from the juniors and all what he had to do was change here and there since he was a very intelligent man," explained Mabvuramiti.
According to him, Matavire adopted songs such as Unondidireyi and Yakauya Aids.
"There was nothing wrong since it benefited both the juniors and Jairos Jiri," added Mabvuramiti.
Indeed, when Mabvuramiti was head-hunted to replace Matavire, he fitted into his shoes without any hitches since they had almost similar voices and both wore dark glasses.
"There were problems with some of the band members though who thought I would not be able to manage the stage and would fail to live up to Matavire's standards. But they later discovered that I could stand my own ground," he laughed.
Mabvuramiti’s massive debut recording was the 1991 maxi single Chikomba Muwadhiropu that told the story of an adulterer caught in the act.
"That was my story. I was caught in the same situation in Masvingo," he laughed again, adding that he wanted to prove that being blind was not a hindrance in any way.
Mabvuramiti also said he was one of the first blind people to learn with sighted children at John Thurlock School in Bulawayo where he entertained other students when he played Matavire's songs.
He also said he was one of the first blind people to play soccer after attaching a rattle to a ball.
"I lived a normal life and behaved just like any other boy in my neighbourhood in Kadoma. In fact, I did not like to go out with blind girls because I pitied them. I liked those with full sight. That is how I courted my wife," he bragged.
Chikomba Muwadhiropu was a massive hit that made people think Matavire was back from prison.
To prove it was not just a one-off hit, Mabvuramiti followed it with Zano Rakaipa, Ndinochiziva and Hakuna Anoramba Mumwe.
When Matavire was released, they held a massive show in Mkoba Stadium Gweru before a row erupted between Jairosi Jiri management and Matavire that resulted in a split.
"Matavire left to form the New Breed which he later called the Hit Machine. Seasoned members left with him and we had to start afresh. But it was not difficult because we had to pick from the centres," said Mabvuramiti• who has seven O Level subjects and wanted to study law.
After rebuilding JJB, Mabvuramiti led the group until 1997 when he resigned. "I had ignored God's calls for years but in 1997, I found it difficult and I gave in with the strong belief that I would one day regain my sight.
"My mother had discovered my blindness when I was three m0l1ths old and attempts to have it corrected failed. Several operations were done but I still did not recover my sight. Only once and for a very short time, my left eye could see very close objects."
In 2003, Mabvuramiti said, he had just finished performing at the Deeper Life Conference for Leaders when Apostle Ezekiel Guti said to him: "Iwe magirazi ako haakuremere here iwaya? (are those spectacles not heavy for you)? It is time God opens those eyes," and Guti had then removed the glasses and tears carne out of the eyes.
"I opened my eyes and indeed I could see what was in the room," Mabvuramiti explained.
That ended his 25 years of blindness and opened up another world for the boy who was born blind and used to believe it was normal.
"I used to believe it was normal to be blind.
When I fell down while playing, J believed too that it was normal," he said disarmingly.
Corrective measures failed to change Mabvuramiti's condition but Mabvuramiti did not give up hope of one day opening his eyes to see the world.
"I lived in the faith that one day I would have my sight back," he said, adding that he used to walk unaided because he had received special training in mobility.
Today Mabvuramiti is no longer a Chikomba Muwadhiropi but a Chikomba Muchechi.

3 comments:

cathrine lees said...

Pastor Bethel Gwarimbo the host of a popular programme on ezekiel tv channel known as Ezekiel TV Mailbox, had a life changing interview with pastor David Mabvuramiti on Mailbox 2011. Pastor David gave his testimony of his healing from blindness, many viewers where healed while watching.

wonder said...

i was privileged to know him when he was blind and after the 'healing'

max aronow said...

Where can I hear the song Chikomba Muwadhiropu? It's not on youtube and I can't find an entry on Discogs to research it