Mateo hangs up guitar, turns to God

MATTHEW Kaunda, popularly known as Mateo, was famed for the hit songs Pamuhacha and Asambe Africa at the peak of his music career in the late 1990s.

The man suddenly went underground amid reports that he had fallen on hard times and his health was failing.

But a recent encounter with Kaunda demonstrated that the man is still going strong and healthy. The difference is that he has turned his back on secular music following a Damascene experience through which he has found Jehovah God.

In retrospect, he regrets that his music did not lead anyone to know God’s son Jesus Christ, and says he will not use his talent anymore to sell his soul to Satan the devil for fame. He says if that happens, it can be described as a case of Biblical Esau despising and selling his birthright for a dish of pottage.

“Today, as events shows us, we are perilously drawing close to the end of Satan’s cruel world,” Mateo said reflectively.

NewsDay traced the man to his Domboshawa home, about 20km north-east of Harare, where he is living a quiet life away from Harare’s madding crowds.

“Life in the arts industry is not real. People make you a ‘god’ and because of ego, you will think you are a ‘god’, but they will be ushering you to hell,” Mateo said.

Kaunda describes hell not as a place of torment and punishment in the afterlife according to many mythological, folklore and religious traditions, but as a grave or tomb according to his Biblical belief now.

At 46, Mateo now looks back at the time he spent in music as wasted years, but is happy that his life has taken a new turn.

Mateo said he has found real joy and purpose in his new life after his decision to hang up the guitar.

“I have wholeheartedly devoted my life to serving my Creator as a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Truly speaking, this decision has led me to a life of real joy and contentment,” he said.

Born in 1969 in Masvingo, Mateo established winning partnerships with the likes of Musa and Willom Tight under the banner of Mateo and Friends.

“I did not abandon music because I had run out of lyrics or had faded away. No, I met Jesus Christ and I discovered a completely new world with pure joy and comfort,” Mateo said.

Mateo, who proficiently quoted the Bible throughout the interview, now spends most of his time in places like Makumbe and Domboshawa proclaiming the gospel.

He said he was now following the Biblical pattern of living a simple life free from the pursuit of material wealth, “avoiding getting caught up in the never-ending quest for the latest and best material things that advertisers would have us believe we need in order to be happy”.

A father of three, he is a now a grandfather and said his first grandson is the family’s real source of joy and inspiration.
Mateo said people who did not understand his new way of life started circulating rumours that he had suffered a mental breakdown and that he was no longer himself.

“I was labelled a mad man at some point, but I understand it because people were trying to come to terms with my new life of faith, which most artistes do not take seriously,” he said.

Mateo warned musicians against heeding the call of the world to fame and said they should reflect on how they wished to be remembered by the Creator and their peers.

“Most upcoming artistes must shun drugs and promiscuity and think deeply about what kind of reputation they want to leave behind,” he said.

He said he had fond memories of the artistes he worked with in the past, whom he still holds dear to his heart.

Mateo’s friend, musician-cum-radio DJ Patience Musa, said: “Although the music industry has been robbed of Mateo, I am happy for him because he has chosen this path. Sometimes as individuals we must choose paths which make us happy. The man was and still is a star. He produced timeless music which defined us as Africans and Zimbabweans in particular.”

She said she had always marvelled at his musical prowess and creativity and wished him well in his new life.

Mateo last produced an album in 2007 which carried the song Nditeererei, which was perhaps a premonition of the new trajectory his life was just about to take as it had a religious flair.
Source Newsday


  1. Charity MunsanjeJuly 8, 2015 at 1:44 AM

    i wooow this is wonderful. The best choice one should make in life though at times

  2. I like his comment in encouraging other artist to break free from drugs and follow suit.


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