Sizwe Sibiya

The Abadumisi Bevangeli Musical Group have risen against all odds to win the 2020 Gospel Icon Discovery choirs competition on Sunday – and brought hope and pride to a community stricken by poverty, drugs and teenage pregnancy.

They take home to KwaSanti, Pinetown, Durban, a R65,000 cheque and a heavy trophy. But also gallons of hope and a recording deal is also among the prizes.

One of the older choir members, Siyanda Radebe, said it has not been an easy ride to winning the competition as they had to face defeat in three consecutive years.

“We started entering the competition in 2016 where we lost. In 2017 we were eliminated again. But we grew. Persistence helped us so much that in 2018 we finished at number three,” said Siyanda.

“We were going to try again in 2019, but the competition was not held.”

Soprano singer Sphamandla Mkhize, aged 23, who has been with the group since its formative years, told Scrolla.Africa the group was formed in 2012 with the ambition of keeping the youth busy.

“We were learners at Isizinda High School when we started the group. We wanted to change our lives and also help other young people. At the time it was a mixed boys and girls choir, but as time went by we decided it should be a boys-only group,” he said.

The group has 13 members who are between the ages of 18 and 29 and some are still at school while others are working and have families of their own. 

The group is managed by Vusi Msomi as part of his Msomhlophe Foundation and an album titled Baba Sixolele, which is IsiZulu for Father Forgive us, was released in 2018.

Group member Sanele Mtumtum said this is not the end but the beginning.

“This is where the real hard work starts,” he said.

“We will work harder than before on the upcoming album and other competitions.”

Gospel Icon Discovery is an annual gospel singer’s competition hosted by the eThekwini Municipality.

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