Zion train on track
TRADITIONAL Zion gospel music has been thriving despite a lack of support from mainstream radio and television.
The few public broadcasting stations that support the music play it at ungodly hours, when everyone is asleep.
But such hindrances do not seem to get in the way of huge sales, public appeal and support and a genuine sense of fulfilment.
Groups such Enyonini Mission are among those that have continued to record their music, remained strong in the music business and kept the genre buoyant.
Jabulani Ntshangase, who is leader and bishop of the church, says the group has survived because of the massive support they get from churchgoers
But the introduction of Soweto's community television station has made a difference.
"Soweto television is doing a great job in giving all the overlooked music genres, like Zion, a platform. If people see our videos being played on television they also buy it. The exposure we get is making a huge difference," he said.
Comprising 30 members, Enyonini Mission has just dropped its sixth offering, titled Sesiphelele Sisonke.
In defining their music, Ntshangase says: "The new album has a lot of praise and worship songs that will speak to people's hearts.
"Our songs are very spiritual. We choose songs that uplift people. Some of the songs are taken from the Bible with the aim of touching people."
Ntshangase adds that Zion traditional music is slowly becoming accepted in the industry. Take last year - Enyonini Mission became the first Zion group to perform live on stage during the South African Music Awards.
"It was a brief performance but it made an impact. From the few minutes we were featured on stage we know a lot of people loved us."
The group was formed in 2004 and has released albums such as Noma Ngihlupheka and Nanku Mthombo, Siyakudumisa, Ukumkhonza and Nonke Bazalwane.