BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
ZIMPRAISE president, Joseph Madziyire’s expedition to host the five-day ZimPraise Choir’s International Gospel and Music Festival during the same week as the ongoing Harare International Carnival may have backfired after he was forced to host the concert for free tonight at the National Sports Stadium.
The carnival, which ends tomorrow with a free concert featuring local and international performers at the Civic Centre Grounds in Harare, may have affected ZimPraise festival’s attendance after registering low turnouts.
Madziyire had invited a number of renowned preachers among them influential United States preacher and senior pastor of the Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas, Thomas Dexter Jakes — popularly known as TD Jakes — as one of the main speakers who had to address “empty” auditoriums.
The charismatic preacher, who is in Zimbabwe for the first time, was the main speaker at the Zimbabwe Business and Leadership Seminar at Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), where the entry fee of the seminar was pegged at $100 for ordinary tickets and $200 for VIP.
Sources privy to the developments yesterday told NewsDay Weekender that to avoid embarrassment, Madziyire decided to let people come for free to the giant 60 000-seater venue for tonight’s Live DVD recording.
Some of the concert’s tickets were sold in advance for $10 (ordinary), $30 (VIP) and $50 (golden circle) covering the entire festival.
The festival’s spokesperson, Vickie Mlilo, said those who had purchased tickets would not be refunded, but will have reserved sitting, but dismissed claims they had succumbed to the carnival.
Pressed further that the claims where all over social media, Mlilo said: “Okay. I really haven’t seen that … What I can tell you is that Joseph [Madziyire] has exhibited true leadership as what Bishop Jakes taught this morning. Many people are here to celebrate him and the courage and work he and his team have done.”
In a broadcast message that circulated on different social media platforms, ZimPraise confirmed that the recording would now be for free.
“This is to advise you all that Bishop TD Jakes will be preaching tomorrow evening at the National Sports Stadium. Please note that it will be for free. Resultantly, mission group meetings for tomorrow have been cancelled to allow those who would want to attend,” read the message.
Madziyire said the festival was meant to fulfil their vision to unite people and spread the gospel through music as well as to celebrate their 10th anniversary.