MM: This programme is Know Them Better. Welcome to my space Chaya Maningi . . . Chaya Sterek (CS)!
CS: Thank you MM.
MM: Straight to that ‘war’ name. I know you are a serious Christian . . . a gentle and very humble young man. Where does the chaya-maningi-chaya sterek come from? You know every name creates a picture and attitude . . . the psychology of names. I have a cousin, a legendary war-veteran whose PhD thesis was on war-names and their impact on those who carried them.
CS: It’s all about music MM, nothing to do with violence or a hot temper! Ndinenge ndichida kuchaya music maningi…kuchaya sterek . . . hit the music running on radio . . . that’s all. . . nothing sinister.
MM: You see! Now we know you better! That is the purpose of this program. Now we can go to your childhood life. Walk us through that Chaya Maningi.
CS: I was born Farai Nzowu 31 years ago at Mutare Provincial Hospital. I’m the last of four siblings. Our mom died when I was 3 and her sister who lived in Bulawayo took over my custody. Thank you mom. . . she was my second mom! I spent most of my early life here in Bulawayo and went to Baines Infant and Junior School. Then briefly moved to Mutare-where I attended school at Ruwa Secondary School . . . then to Elise Gledhill Secondary School. My dad passed on and I went back to Bulawayo to my mom’s sister. I attended high school at Northlea. MM: You are very churchy Chaya-Maningi, Am I correct to say that about you?
CS: Of course I am! A long fascinating story! A friend of mine-Liberty Mwale introduced me to serious attachment to God. I go to Christ Embassy Church where I am responsible for Visual Arts in the church. . . Bible skits. Drama, Music etc. . . that sort of thing. I used to go to a different church with mom you know, but you know what small boys are like. It’s like following mom . . . not really devoted and serious. It was Liberty who showed me God and the way. But it was not only about church. I sold cell phone accessories and travelled right round Zimbabwe selling and selling and then selling. I went as far as Chipinge, Checheche Chiredzi, all over, selling cell phone accessories. I lived sort of comfortably . . . tough but ok. I also make beads with my own hands . . . beautiful beads . . . in big way! African craft it is and I have a sizeable market in this product.
MM: Very enterprising!
CS: You can say that MM. But then something sad and strange happened. I fell ill in 2012 and was admitted for the first time in my life . . . seriously ill from a heart condition that needed an expensive heart operation in South Africa. It was dreadful. I will not forget this. My doctor said there was fluid around my heart and it kept on coming back even after some brief successful treatment. Something funny . . . very funny, almost mad, was that I had no energy to do anything but had the strength to go to church all the time and sang my heart out in the choir. Tapiwa Makwarimba who used to work this side, I’m sure you worked with her, now in Harare, used to think I was really mad to come to church that ill.
MM: He has always been and will ever be! I’m glad you know that.
CS: Amen MM. I kept on praying and beseeching God’s hand. I recovered . . . miraculously would not be an exaggeration. Here am I today . . . very healthy. I was never operated on.
MM: What a testimony! Nothing can be sweeter Chaya Maningi to hear a young man testifying the power of God, His everlasting love and mercy! A lot of young men, especially when they think they are celebs-so called, easily forget The Master and imagine they are too smart to acknowledge His omnipotence.
CS: Until they are alone in some serious trouble and then they remember . . . how useless we are without God!
MM: You say it all Chaya . . . there you are. You say it best. Now let us explore The Chosen-One bit of your name. Jews were the chosen ones. You are not a Jew Chaya-Maningi, in any way, are you?
CS: Chaya-Maningi-The Chosen One, yes, in full. You’ve heard the Chayamaningi bit. This is the bit. I attended the Loveworld Musical Festival in South Africa. Many artistes came from all over Africa and Europe . . . the likes of Eben and Frank Edwards, both from West Africa, Flame B and Sabelo from Zimbabwe. When it came to judging my performance one judge said about me ‘He’s the chosen one! He must proceed to the next stage.’ The rest followed unanimously. Wow! The chosen one again! So Chaya Maningi is The Chosen One MM.
MM: You see what I meant about Knowing You Guys Better! Now we know. Your greatest contribution to radio . . . what do you think it is?
CS: Putting a smile on Diamond FM listeners. This is who I am. A smile from me to you and you glow in that smile . . . Once that is done.
MM: What are some of your programmes on radio Chaya?
CS: My favourite is The Boost – every Sunday from 6 to 9am. Here I motivate listeners . . . even with my music. I cheer them up and force that smile. It’s so uplifting. Then all Tuesdays and Thursdays…Pahasha 12 noon to 3 pm, . . . then The Rise which is music from me to listeners and another one called Uripi? In this one I want to know where the callers are and what they are doing.
MM: Finally, is the star shining further? Whereto from here? Any hopes, wishes, ambitions, aspirations to rise above the sky?
CS: I love television. I heard you MM talk about working on a TV series project. Don’t leave me out of that . . . not necessarily anchoring on Tele But whatever participation . . . I’m there, exactly what you were talking about the other day.
MM: By the powers invested in me, Chaya Maningi you are in it. It’s done! Keep fingers crossed. It’s going to be a block buster project. If we do our best, God will do the rest. I cannot end this show without asking this question, of course with your permission. At 31 surely you should be contemplating holy matrimony. Any good news in the offing anytime soon?
CS: MM what’s the hurry in Africa? I’m taking my time. It’s always good to grow up and mature. Marriage is not an experiment. Once you are in it, it is forever. You do not want to hurry up, tizisa someone . . . mitisa someone. . . then force them to run to your home. Why should she run…where to . . . what for?
MM: I Will Marry When I Want . . . sort of thing eh? You know the book . . . written by two Ngugis-WaThiongo and WaMiiri?
CS: Exactly. The good thing is that there is one on the line and she is the only one who may be . . . God willing.
MM: Wonderful to hear such wisdom and self restraint from a young man like you. You are not the common young man today who believes in sampling ladies . . . put them on the table and choose . . . like he is choosing cards. Picks up one or two and dump the rest?
CS: That’s abuse, wicked, cruel, irresponsible and unfair!
MM: Chaya Maningi this is The Manica Post. Thank you for a great interview. We meet one-on- one on Radio on Sunday 12:30 sharp . . . don’t forget! Those who don’t read, will have the opportunity of knowing you better on their favourite station-Diamond FM Radio on Sunday-Always on top of the game! See you then!
CS: Will be there!