The Other Side of Dudu the Jazz Songbird
Afro-jazz musician Dudu Manhenga is a respected artist in the music industry. With a career spanning decades, she has broken many boundaries and has accolades to show for it.
My Afrika Magazine columnist Sympathy Sibanda (SS) had an exclusive chat with Dudu Manhenga (DM) to discuss the other ventures she is currently driving.
SS: I know how busy you are, so thank you for your time, Dudu.
DM: It’s an absolute pleasure!
SS: You have a made a name in the music industry and yet we are hearing your name in other circles. Tell us about your non music projects
DM: I believe the music platform was a place where God put me as a pedestal for his other assignments. I am still in the business of people but now at a more personal level with them as their pastor and confidante.
We are currently running a bridge school at Arda Farm where we identify children whose parents are unable to take them through school and we are helping them cross that bridge and better their lives. Life is just a little better if you can read and write.
We are also into a number of social initiatives to help people cope with life. We conduct worship and children’s camps as well as empowerment seminars and conferences. The word of God is a tool we are using unapologetically so.
SS: You are a Pastor and a well inspired one. How did you get into that?
God has an interesting sense of humour. Since 2003 I have been serving within the Pentecostal assemblies of Zimbabwe and was a deacon for a season. You can’t avoid God’s call on your life. He pursues and pursues.
There were many signs that I could share, it needs a whole day but here I am now serving Him.
SS: Is it correct to say that faith is important to you?
DM: Faith is the only currency I trade with, now that I have understanding. Without faith it is impossible to please God. It takes a lot of faith to serve God otherwise there are many instances that could cause one to quit so one’s faith must be built on The Rock Jesus!
SS: A school you founded is changing lives. How can people partner with you?
DM: It’s a miracle each day…we would be blessed to have people help us with books. Infact we are running a book drive as we speak.
Some can come on board with clothes and shoes to just restore the children’s dignity. We also run a feeding program with that, and it would really help us if people can commit to share from their pantries.
Most importantly we would be blessed if people adopted each child to take care of their needs on a monthly basis.
SS: You value family and already play with them in your band. How have you managed to instill that work ethic in them?
Our children are growing, and we are doing our best to work alongside them so they learn by seeing and not from lectures. I believe they will make great citizens of the world who are respectful and well groomed.
SS: For what you have achieved you are so humble. What’s your message to those aspiring for fame?
DM: All we have is given to us as a gift so that we are a blessing. It’s unnecessary to be prideful! Besides these things can just go away in a wink of an eye and there has to be more substance to who you are as a person.
SS: Life has its lows. How have you dealt with yours?
I have had my fair share of lows. I walk through my lows with the same grace I use for my highs and it’s important to be consistent. The word of God has been great at keeping me grounded and focused on the big picture.
During lows learn lessons, during highs live out lessons you learnt during your lows…you will be solid and unshakeable.
SS: You and Blessing are such friends. We admire your love. How long have you been married and how do you keep it blazing?
We have grown up together and have worked together all our lives and God has been good. Our marriage has not been without challenges, but we deal with them and each other like two Christians who want to go to heaven …it sobers one up.
We are 23 years and counting. We keep it blazing by looking out for each other’s interests as best as we can, and we are both always reminded that we were forgiven much so we forgive much.
SS: Anything new to look out for in 2023?
DM: By God’s help next year we look forward to releasing some music and more books and more events. I want to live out all that I am in 2023 and I pray God will help me.
SS: You are such an inspiration Dudu. Thank you and all the best with everything!
DM: Thank you Sympathy