Reuben Kabwe (born 1988) is a Zambian-born gospel singer and songwriter. Born in the year 1988 to Mr Gilbert Kabwe and Mable Kabwe in Mufulira , Zambian. Reuben Kabwe started singing at the age of 8 while still in primary school.
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Early Life and Career
If you have been within the country for the past few months, you have probably heard some very amazing gospel lyrics that go something like:
“Mwansalile elyo akasuba takalabako…
Mwansalile elyo umweshi taulafuma…
Lesa, kale mwatile nkenda nobe…”
You have, right?
And if you have, didn’t you at one point think it’s actually a woman behind the same lyrics?
I wouldn’t really blame you if you did because I for one also thought so at one point.
But as strange as it might sound, the singer behind the hit ‘Kale’ whom most Zambians think is a woman is actually a man named Reuben.
I recently caught up with this singer whom fellow gospel singers like Inoccent ‘Alumbwe’ Mumba recently described as the most happening gospel singer currently.
His full names are Reuben Kabwe originally from Mufulira town on the Copperbelt.
The story of this man who was born in 1988 is touching. Very touching actually.
His father’s names are Gilbert Kabwe and Mable Kabwe and is the first born in a family of 8.
According to Reuben, his childhood was not so pleasant as his parents were not well to do and were sickly. He said his mother had anaemia while his father had cancer and his main occupation was selling merchandise at some market in Mufulira.
He said the suffering his family was going through was so serious that at one time, he got so fed up that he attempted suicide.
“I used to feel bad seeing my parents struggling just to take care of my siblings and I. So, one day I decided to end my life, and I drank some medicine with the intention of killing myself but nothing happened even after taking that medicine,” recalls Reuben.
He recalled that as a child growing up in a community full of school drop outs, he also ended up quitting school just in Grade 3.
“The compound where I come from, there are people who are not educated so there isn’t really anyone you can look up to who has done well for themselves. So I stopped school in grade three due to some financial constraints and I did not really have a role model who could push me to stay in school,” he said.
Reuben recalled that after dropping out of school, it wasn’t long before he became a street kid.
“At some point, life became very difficult for me and I stopped school in grade three and I ran off to the streets where I became a street kid for three years due to the hardships I was facing,” said Reuben.
He recalled that it had to take a Good Samaritan to pull him out of the streets and put him back in school.
“After being in the streets for a long time, a Good Samaritan picked me from the streets and sent me back to school where I started school in grade seven and I managed to pass to grade eight,” he said.
But just when he started seeing light at the end of the tunnel, the merciless hand of death struck the Good Samaritan who was supporting him. Reuben had no idea on how he was going to support his education.
But God came in for him. The Lord made the young Reuben realise that the singing talent he had been overlooking for many years is exactly what he should use to get to the next stage of life.
He said that although he had been singing since the tender age of 8, he never took his singing talent seriously. But this time around, he started using his singing talent to raise money for his education.
He said that through this experience, he learnt one important lesson concerning why God at times allows bad things to happen to people. He said he believes God allowed his sponsor to pass on so that he could realise the value of his singing talent.
“Sometimes life gets tough but that does not mean one should give up on life and when bad things happen in life, one has to encourage themselves and just forge ahead. Despite what I went through in life I managed to complete my grade twelve, though I didn’t manage to find someone to sponsor me to do my tertiary education that’s how I decided to take music seriously,” he said adding that he intends to further his studies.
While trying to discover himself properly, Reuben reveals that he made one or two mistakes and failed to resist the temptation of sex before marriage. That’s how he fathered 2 children with a young lady whom he is yet to marry as she is currently in school.
But Reuben learnt from his mistakes, sought God’s forgiveness and started working to get his life and music career back on track.
Reuben has thus been perfecting his music talent since the mid 2000s.
Interestingly, although most gospel music lovers are only getting to hear of the ‘Kale’ hit track now, it was actually recorded and released way back in his debut album in 2007.
Reuben admitted that he also at times gets surprised that the ‘Kale’ song is only receiving serious attention now despite being released in 2007 in an album which was heavily promoted.
But the singer feels anything has its own time. He said if God has not given a go ahead for something, nothing can happen no matter how much human effort is made.
Early this year, Reuben released the Naileta album. Reuben also included a remix of ‘Kale’ in this best selling album. This album is currently receiving massive airplay on local radio stations. It had also been grabbing the No. 1 spot on the Sound Top 20 Chart.
And Reuben also admitted that despite making a number of televison appearances, a lot of gospel music lovers still think he is a woman.
“Just last week, I was on radio Christian voice and callers were asking if Reuben was a woman or a man, those who think Reuben is a woman they have it all wrong, Reuben is a man,” he laughed.
Asked to comment on the rising cases of singers seeking powers from witch doctors to boost their music sales, Reuben said turning to traditional doctors is not the answer.
“A witchdoctor cannot bless you. That’s why you find someone gets rich fast and within a short period, everything vanishes, so it is not good for a Christian to involve themselves in charms,” said Reuben.
The singer also took time to encourage those struggling and lacking direction in life to look to God because only Him would show them the way.
He explained that as a person who has struggled nearly all of his life, he knows exactly how God can lift a person from being a zero to a hero as long as that person entrusts his life to God.
“No one knew that God would bless me in such a way. Even in my family, my life is a testimony and whenever they see me on TV, they fail to understand, because they have seen where I have come from and what I have been through,” said the artiste.
The singer who has since relocated to Lusaka and congregates at Tabernacle Mission also pays glowing tribute to his manager Sugar Ray for helping him in his music career.
Reuben Kabwe is currently single and not yet married.
Reuben Kabwe’s net worth as of 2021 is estimated to be around $260, 000 (net worth estimated in 2021).