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ELECTION 2022

Is Jimmy Gait’s play on ‘sponsor’ too much ado about nothing?

ARTS & CULTURE
By Wacera Thurube | Jul 1st 2016 | 4 min read

I was going through social media as I am wont to do early this week, when I came across a post that made me pause! A ‘friend’ was upset with Jimmy Gait for referring to Christ as the ultimate sponsor in his song, Yesu Ndiye Sponsor.

Without belabouring the point, many if not all of you are aware that the word ‘sponsor’ has taken on an unflattering connotation in the lingua franca of the millennials. Ditto, the word ‘bless’ whose colloquial variations- ‘blesser’ and ‘blessee’ bear the same unfortunate burden.

So, to many, for Jimmy Gait to use this now unmentionable word to refer to Christ is a heresy and they are, rightly or wrongly, condemning both him and the song. In their analyses, Jimmy Gait had committed the ultimate sin and to underpin their feelings, the word blasphemy was used on more than one occasion in reference to the song.

Further, the gospel integrity of the song was called into question, the issue at hand being that single word: Sponsor.

Let me begin by saying that I have worked with Jimmy Gait and he is a pretty stand-up guy and a consummate professional. I also do not hold any brief for him. This article was done purely because I felt that someone needed to offer a contrary opinion, no matter how lonely, on this issue.

I have listened to the song, and although I admit that I am clearly in the minority, I like the beat - which some people have also expressed reservations about - and the lyrics which I find are a clever play on current trends to pass on a higher message. So, let us examine this song in slightly more detail. Yesu Ndie Sponsor basically calls out young women who have resorted to seeking earthly fulfillment from older men in exchange for their bodies. Besides the indignity these kinds of engagements subject these young women to, they run the real risk of contracting diseases, not to mention the psychological impact it may have on them.

We are living in a society where one of most famous phrases is “Heri kulia ndani ya Range Rover kuliko kucheka juu ya baiskeli” (It is better to be sad inside a Range Rover than be happy while on a bicycle) which basically places a premium on the fulfillment of visceral needs over a higher purpose such as spirituality and morality.

This in essence is used to justify the setting aside of conscience and any moral considerations in pursuit of pleasure. We are a society that glorifies wealth, no matter how it has been acquired.

Not by accident, we have a whole generation of instant gratification-seeking young people who have grown up knowing that it is okay to take short cuts because, ultimately, hard work does not always pay and the rich suffer no consequences. I could give numerous examples at the national and local levels to back this up, but I will not bore you with that because you already know what I mean.

Essence of gospel

So, circling back to Jimmy Gait, is his a gospel song or not? Many have argued that because it does not reference a single verse in the Bible, it doesn’t quite qualify. Indeed, by referring to Christ as a sponsor, the song automatically falls off the gospel category. But what is the purpose of gospel music? Isn’t it to teach us what God wants us to be? How He wants us to live? By advising young women to seek their fulfillment from Christ over human beings, isn’t Jimmy conveying a religious message? Isn’t that the essence of the gospel? That Christ is the beginning and the end?

By asking young women and indeed society to seek spiritual fulfillment above all else, doesn’t that fit perfectly with Matthew 6:33 which asks us to ‘Seek first the kingdom of God and all else will fall into place? So, if a sponsor fulfills your needs, isn’t Christ the ultimate sponsor and shouldn’t we be leaning on Him instead of breaking up homes and selling our bodies to achieve wealth?

One more thing. I have to admit that I am a tad troubled by how our literature lessons, which were compulsory for a good section of society, went to waste.

There is a tendency to apply a literal interpretation to the Bible that locks out a whole section of messages and people, be they in music, spoken or written form. You may not like the beat or the even the sound of Jimmy’s voice, but listen to his message again, this time carefully and you will find that therein is a profound message that is just asking us to do the right thing, which is what gospel, at least in my books, is all about.

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