Zimbabwean gospel sensation and social activist Tembalami is performing for Cazenovia College students April 9, and for the general public April 12 and 13 at Summit Church.
continued Tembalami is not just a singer, however. He has been an active church member for more than a decade; is one of the founding members of Zimpraise, a group of Gospel artists who came together to perform and teach music in high schools; and has partnered with Hope 2day International, an organization that focuses on career guidance programs for schools in high density suburbs.
As a social activist, his passion is health and education, he said. One of his main projects is working with orphan education in Zimbabwe, where there is no free public schooling. “Less fortunate kids cannot afford to pay for school, and we raise money to do that,” he said. He also spends a lot of his time promoting cervical cancer and HIV/AIDS education and research.
In fact, his U.S. Tour came to fruition when Cazenovia College Visiting Professor Joy Fashu Kanu, who was born and raised in Zimbabwe and moved to the United States in 1997, contacted him and invited him to the states.
In 2013, Kanu was lying injured in bed after a car accident, feeling depressed, needing inspiration and to hear her own language. She went online and searched for Zimbabwean gospel music and found Tembalami.
“I found him, and his voice, his songs … he was saying, ‘I surrender to you God,’ and that’s what I was saying. But he was so upbeat; it was a joyful submission,” she said. “And I said I’m going to dance one day like he is dancing.”
So Kanu bought Tembalani’s album — which she calls “one of the greatest of my life” — and said she called and emailed everyone she knew to tell them to listen to his music. Eventually, she said, she had a dream to invite Tembalami to the U.S. to perform, and after emailing him and meeting him in Zimbabwe, that dream became a reality.