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Fungisai denied UK visa

Staff Writer

FADING gospel diva Fungisai Zvakavapano was last week denied entry into the United Kingdom (UK) where she was billed to perform at three concerts.

rial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Zvakavapano, a frequent guest at State House and friend to First Lady Grace Mugabe, was refused admission to the country by British Embassy officials despite getting a work permit from the Home Office in Britain.

London-based Zimbabwe news website, newzimbabwe.com, quoted a British Embassy official citing several reasons for refusing Fungisai a visa, including fear that she might not return to Zimbabwe after her tour.

“Taking into account your circumstances as known to me and the current socio-economic circumstances where the official unemployment rate is 70% and the official inflation rate approximately 400% and the widely reported political circumstances in Zimbabwe, I am not satisfied on the balance of probabilities, that you intend to leave the United Kingdom on completion of this visit,” Ken Arundel, an entry clearance officer wrote in a letter to Fungisai.

The visa would have enabled Fungisai to travel to England where she was billed to share the stage with South African gospel artistes Vuyo Mokoena and Lundi from October 15-17 in Birmingham, Bradford and Milton Keynes.

Zvakavapano on Wednesday declined to comment referring all questions to her manager Huston Mabika.

“For any information you want you talk to him,” she said.

Friends of the star also quoted by newzimbabwe.com said Zvakavapano was devastated after her first UK tour failed to materialise. Lundi, who last year proposed to marry the gospel singer, was also said to be “very disappointed”.

“Fungisai doesn’t understand why she has been treated like this,” Lewis Moyo, a spokesman for the promoters told newzimbabwe.com. “Her management doesn’t understand it either and I also don’t.”

Moyo said they had lost thousands of pounds in advance payments and lost ticket sales after news of Fungisai’s absence from the tour broke out.

“It’s really dispiriting and I feel that we are not being told the whole truth about why things have turned out this way,” Moyo said.

Fungisai has been invited to State House on several occasions to perform for the First Family and their guests. She was also on the guest list and performed at President Mugabe’s 80th birthday in February. Several Zimbabwean musicians have returned to Zimbabwe without some band members after they “disappeared” in the UK or claimed asylum.

Only last month, Albert Nyathi was vowing to fight until two of his band members who refused to return home after a 6-month-long UK tour were deported for breach of contract.

All 13 members of the mbira group Hohodza Band pulled a similar stunt when they sought asylum in Manchester England.

Paul Matavire and Simon Chimbetu have also left behind some of their band members.

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