WHILE some fans are still reciting lyrics and others dancing to the beats of his old songs, MC Wabwbino has long turned his back on secular music and plans no return.
MC Wabwino says he is happier and more fullfiled as a born-again Christian.
At his peak as a secular musician, the burly and energetic 49-year-old was best known for his showmanship, storming the stage, sometimes shirtless and belting out some of his social commentary hits.
He insists that although sometimes controversial, his songs always carried a moral message.
“Most of it was positive music. l would sing against adultery, against prostitution…I was actually one of the first people to sing against molestation of children by teachers,” he recalls.
Born Chembe Munkoshya, he endeared himself to music lovers with a career spanning over two decades during which he released over 20 albums.
His exploits won him the Ngoma as well as the Born ‘n’ Bred awards.
But today MC Wabwino is a committed member of the St Peter’s Anglican Church in Lusaka’s Libala area.
In fact, he is a lead guitarist of the praise team and occasionally stands in for the priest.
He explains that although he has been a member of the church since childhood, the turnaround happened in 2014 when parish priest Father Robert Sihubwa whom he says has been instrumental in his Christian life visited his home.
“We were given an altar call and something amazing happened. Together with my whole family, we gave ourselves to the Lord in the living room in my house,” he recalls.
Since then, MC Wabwino says his wife and five children have made strides to grow as Christians – attending church and studying the word of God together as a family.
He explains that the decision to change was from the depth of his heart and has no regrets.
“I don’t regret, I am more fulfilled now. I spend a lot of time with my family, I am happier. I don’t miss anything from that time,” he says.
His response to the notion that Zambian musicians only turn to gospel when their careers are in decline, MC Wabwino says, ” I left the stage when my fans were still clapping.
“No one has matched my records in terms of albums, they are still fighting to kill my record. Every album l released was a hit. I was a Ngoma award winner, I was a Born ‘n’ Bred award winner. What didn’t I do? Mine was a decision really really coming from my heart,” he adds.
MC Wabwino says it was initially not easy for him to get involved in church programmes but that with time, he overcame the fear.
He reveals that he is now involved in evangelism.
“I have been teaching the discipleship class. I try to avail myself for any outreach programmes that are availed to me by my father here, Father Robert Sihubwa who has immensely nurtured me to where I am today,” he says.
“When he’s out of the country, I am one of those he relies on to preach the word here and it’s exciting.”
MC Wabwino says his previous music career took him around the world as well as earned him enough money but that all that was for himself.
“I would like to lead a life that benefits others, a less selfish life. l appreciate God for having given me that chance. I travelled the world, I performed in London, in Johannesburg and many other places. I made plenty of money and that is it. But now l would like to do something that benefits others and brings glory to God,” he says.
MC Wabwino explains that in the past six years of his Christian journey, he has learned enough to produce Gospel music to impact people’s lives.
He is now working on his second gospel album.
“As for 2020, I intend to be more involved in gospel outreach. I intend to start making my gospel music presence increased everywhere on Earth now.
“It’s not just about singing anything with the name Jesus in it; it has to be biblically correct and it must be inspired by the Holy Spirit and I believe that some of the music that I am composing and performing now is music that is inspired by the Holy Spirit.”
He says given chance to do something differently in his previous career, MC Wabwino says he would “put Christ first.”
To his fans, MC Wabwino says; “All those who are my fans, those who love my music all those who love me – ‘accept/Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. And trust me your life will be a million times better than it is now, fullfiled and that is a prerequisite to enter heaven.”
Story and pictures Salim Dawood