By CHILUFYA CHISENSE
IN the early 2000s, there were a number of historical events that took place in the then President Levy Mwanawasa run Zambia.
If I am not mistaken, it was during this era that the nation was embroiled in a Genetically Modified Maize (GMO) debate. It was also during this era in which we witnessed the immunity of former president Frederick Chiluba being removed. It was also during this era in which we witnessed the famous 2004 Cosafa Cup penalty miss by soccer legend Kalusha Bwalya.
We can go on and on.
But for today, I want us to concentrate on one major event that took place during this era which shaped someone’s music career.
I am talking about the 2003 M-Net Pop Idols (Zambia). Those who were good at Maths and history will remember that this competition attracted excellent participation from Zambians of all walks of life. Beamed on the national broadcaster—ZNBC— the show was followed by many people around the country.
By the time it was coming to an end, a very, very young songbird named Rachael was unanimously declared the overall winner of the M-Net Pop Idols (Zambia).
And it was this win that hugely instilled some unwavering confidence in her. It was just what Rachael needed to rise to stardom.
Let me pause a bit here.
You see, somehow, I am getting this feeling that we are not on the same page with someone somewhere. Although I am not a prophetess, I can certainly ‘prophesy’ that someone doesn’t know who this Racheal that I am talking about is. I know that this someone is not you. But the spirit is telling me that the name of this someone starts with the letter ‘E’ and then there is ‘Q’ somewhere.
So, for the benefit of this someone with a name that starts with letter ‘E’ and many others whom the spirit is yet to reveal to me, I will make it a point to let the masses know who this Racheal is.
Early Life and Education
Well, her full names are Racheal Nanyangwe Kabeba. She is the beautiful daughter of Dafry Sinyangwe and Mary Malumbwa whose birthday fell just last Wednesday on March 24. She turned 30.
The Chingola born and bred Nanyangwe started school at Twateka Basic School in 1992 and attended Chingola High School from grade eight to grade twelve.
In 2007, she enrolled in a Management course at National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) and graduated in 2009.
Family life and ventures
In 2010, Nanyangwe got married to Edwin Kabeba— the renowned music producer, composer, sound engineer and owner of Tyme Lyne Entertainment Limited who is known in the music circles simply as ‘Nyno.’ Nanyangwe is now a mother of two— a boy and a girl.
The family resides in Lusaka’s New Avondale area and worships at the Bishop Harrison Sakala led Tabernacle of David Assemblies of God.
Nanyangwe and the husband run a ministry called ‘the Elect of God’ which comprises the band ‘The Elect’. The band creates a platform for identifying young talent.
The singer is also into mentorship. She runs an academy called ‘Vocal House’ where she does vocal training.
Well, Nanyangwe’s music exploits can be said to have started as early as 1995 when she discovered her singing talent at a tender age of 9.
From then on, she joined her local church choir and took part in a number of singing competitions. These activities and a few others helped her tender her singing talent.
In 2003, she took part in the M-Net Pop Idols— a competition which she eventually won.
The year 2005 was probably another milestone in Nanyangwe career as she set out to record some uplifting rhythms with a group called Cherubs under Tyme Lyne label.
Rachael was credited for contributing five songs to Cherubs’ maiden project including Swilila, Ulaboola and Chibusa.
Rachael debuted on the Christian music arena as a solo artist in 2006 with an amazing effort titled Ulukuta, which instantly culminated in the young gospel minister to scoop two prestigious CHAPRO awards.
Her debut album Ulukuta was, thus, inevitable and brought us the songs Swilila, Elyo Nchili, Lesa Wandi, Know That I Love You and Testimony.
With this extraordinary feat set before her, the singer set her eyes on the Ngoma Awards.
And true to her sheer determination and consistency on the gospel music scene, Rachel was named the Best Female Performer during the 2010 edition.
In the same year, released her second album titled Nu-Chapter.
The Nu-Chapter album was not only a defining chapter for her, but a true revelation in the Kingdom of God. The album won her a nomination during the 2010 Born & Bred award.
Five years later in 2014, she released a “live on stage” DVD called ‘Racheal and the Elect’.
In this compilation, she included songs from her two previous albums.
The thanksgiving song titled Namitotela and a series of other hits from her maiden collections, made up the medley and Intro hymns of her collections.
Others, such as You Are Holy are from Ulukuta and Nu-Chapter, her debut and second albums, respectively.
These include the uplifting tune Mulungu Wamayanko, Aliwama (lesa eka cema wandi), Sundowny and Fyonse Ifyandi, which are all taken from her award-winning Nu-Chapter album.
This compilation was soon followed by the release of a single called ‘Bushe’.
Nanyangwe stated in an interview that fans should expect a new album from her later this year.
Racheal’s music career has seen her tour Africa, Australia and Europe. She has shared platforms with other renowned artists such as Benjamin Dube, Rebbeca Malope, Don Moen, Esther Wahome and many more.
Although my above narration of Nanyangwe’s walk in the music industry might give one an impression that all has been rosy for her, according to the singer, it has not been easy.
“I came on the scene when I was really young and being female at the time, we were not as many female artists. Certain people would try to take advantage of you because you are young, others will despise and judge you,” she recalled adding that this led into her walking away from some deals.
The singer went on to admit there were also times when she felt like quitting after facing some tough times in her singing career.
“It has not been a smooth road; it has not been an easy journey all the way. Life is full of seasons and I have had my ups and downs. There were times when I felt like I will quit and the Holy Spirit always reminds me that that is what the enemy wants you to do,” Nanyangwe said.
She explained that the difficulties she has faced in her Christian life have given her enough conviction to advice those helping to lead non-believers to Christ to always tell the truth about Christian life.
“We Christians should not sugar coat people who are being led to Christ that life as a Christian is all easy and smooth going all the way. People should learn to show both sides of the coin by telling the truth that hard times come but how they handle them as Christians is what matters,” she advised.
And Nanyangwe also took time to advise her fellow artistes.
According to the singer, gospel music is not just about releasing albums but also understanding what God wants you to do in a particular project.
“Once you realize that the project is not yours but God’s, then you will actually see the impact that it will have on people when God takes over,” she emphasized.
She also urged artistes not to write songs just for the sake of exciting the crowds.
“As we write songs, let us write songs that are full of the word of God and not songs that are just going to excite people and make a few people happy. Are the songs glorifying God, are they ushering people into the presence of God?” she asked.
Nanyangwe’s advice to upcoming artistes is that they should know exactly why they getting into the music industry and what may be driving them. She said aspiring musicians should have passion for music and the word of God in them.
“The music industry is hard so for you to stand in this industry, you need God, you need to be saved. You cannot just wake up and do gospel music because it is selling, you need to have a relationship with God.”
If you are very observant, you may have noticed from the 1,385 words I have written above that being Rachael Nanyangwe is quite involving. She is a wife, a mother, a singer, a mentor, a vocal trainer, a friend and relative to many. How does she manage to Rachael Nanyangwe in her day-to-day live?
“First and foremost, it comes down to planning my day routines, being time disciplined and setting priorities, knowing what to do at what particular time. But it is all by the Grace of God because they are times when I would do things and say I would not have done that on my own, it is just by the grace of God,” she explained.
-The Church Newspaper Zambia