Where are these gospel stars?

Sabata Masoka
Sabata Masoka

EVERYBODY knows how dynamic the entertainment industry can be, and even gospel music has its own changes too. There were many stars who dominated the gospel scene and disappeared as if they were never there. Move! catches up with those who once took the gospel industry by storm, to find out what they have been up to since they went off the radar.


Gospel singer, Thobekile Mkhwanazi, made waves with her impressive debut, Uthembekile, in 2010. Now the Eastern Cape-born singer is about to make a comeback in the industry with a new album. “The music will never stop. I was recently touring George and East London with my crew performing. I am also currently working on my album with the likes of Dumi Mkokstad and Thinah Zungu,” she says. “I have also launched a project where I help out the community. We cook for the poor and deliver the food house to house,” says the singer.


Gospel sensation, Sabata Masoka, was one of the favourite singers in Joyous Celebration. Grand stage performances and concerts are some of the highlights of his career. The singer went solo and released a studio album titled, Izithembiso, after Joyous Celebrations. “I have worked for a long time as a backing vocalist because I wanted to get inspired and learn more about the industry I have noticed that the game has changed,” he says. “I've been working on another album, Restored, which will be released early in March. I have worked with Rebecca Malope on the album. She wrote some of the songs and featured on them.”


Lungisani Ntuli says he has had a hard time in his career after leaving his recording label, LMP Records, and going solo. “After leaving LMP Records, I faced a lot of hardships. I met people who claimed that they would help me, only to find out that they wanted to con me. I then decided to stop recording music and went back to being a worship team leader in church,” he explains. He feels that there is nothing innovative in the gospel music industry. “The gospel industry has never been the same since we lost people like Sfiso Ncwane and Lundi Tyamara. They left a huge gap in the industry and singers who are there now are releasing the same kind of music. We need to change and produce music that people will connect with,” says Lungisani. He is working on an album titled, Second Chances. He is working with backing vocalist, Buhle Nhlengulelwa, on the album.


Avante has blessed South African gospel music lovers with their uplifting music for a very long time. They released their first album, Sinethemba, in 1997. The album was a hit with gospel music fans and turned the group into a household name. The award-winning group, made up of talented musicians such as Linda Gcwensa, Lucky Cele, James Langa and others, started experiencing difficulties in 2011 when two members passed away. At the peak of their success, the Durban-based gospel outfit performed on a television show called Gospel Time. After enjoying such success in the tough and competitive gospel industy, the question on everyone's lips is: where are the members of Avante now? Move! tried to reach the group members but their phones kept ringing  unanswered.