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Tuku makes history

Legendary musician Oliver Mtukudzi was billed to headline the OppiKoppi Music Festival in South Africa yesterday, making him the first foreigner to be accorded such a privilege during the 24 years the music fête has been in existence.

By Moses Mugugunyeki

Music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi (left) with former swimmer and former world record holder Kirsty Coventry (second from left) and other speakers at the African Philanthropy Forum Conference in Johannesburg recently

Tuku, who seems to have regained his lost mojo during the last few months, thanks to his new management team led by Walter Wanyanya, is in South Africa where he has held a number of successful shows in the last two months.

The music icon was also among a panel of 60 speakers who participated at this year’s African Philanthropy Forum (APF) Conference held in Johannesburg on August 1 and 2.

Last week on Saturday, the Bvuma Wachembera singer performed before a full house at the Golden Reef City in Johannesburg at a show that was organised by South African entertainment hub, Bassline Live.

On Friday, South Africa-based Zimbabwean promoters Extratime Entertainment flew Tuku to Durban where the music superstar gave a vintage act.

However, it was his inclusion among a galaxy of musicians that serenaded fans that thronged the mining town of Northam in the Limpopo Province of South Africa for the OppiKoppi Music Festival that puts Tuku in a class of his own.

“No foreign musician has headlined this festival since its inception in 1994. Foreign acts have graced the festival, but no one was accorded the privilege to be the main act except Nzou [Tuku’s totem],” said Wanyanya.

He said such recognition meant the music superstar was still a force on the global music scene.

“OppiKoppi Music Festival is not a small music gathering, but an internationally-recognised event,” Wanyanya said.

According to the OppiKoppi Music Festival official website, the showcase is the biggest multiple-day music festival held in South Africa. The first ever band weekend at the OppiKoppi farm took place in May 1994 with Valiant Swart, Koos Kombuis and few hundred people in the small bar.

“Although the festival started off focusing mostly on rock music, more genres were soon added and now plays host to roughly 160 sets of international and South African music and entertainment acts of all genres including rock, hip-hop, hard-core, punk, ska, folk, blues, drum ‘n bass, big beats, kwaito, jazz, funk, traditional, world music, comedy, metal, indie, house and other genres,” writes the site.

This year, the line-up has blown up to be one of the most diverse concert stages that the country has seen.

Meanwhile, Wanyanya said Ngoma Nehosho (a baby of Tuku Music) was reinventing the music superstar into a speaker.

“Nzou is multi-talented and one of his other many talents is that he is a good speaker. We are tapping into his wisdom and reinventing him into a speaker. Last week he joined over 60 other speakers at the APF Conference here in Johannesburg and spoke about his philanthropic work in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Tuku is said to have spoken about his Pakare Paye Arts Centre project in Norton where he is assisting upcoming artistes. Zimbabwean former swimmer and former world record holder Kirsty Coventry was also among the speakers at the conference.

Tongai Mbidzo of Extratime Entertainment said he was happy to work with the music superstar and was planning another gig to celebrate Tuku’s 66th birthday next month.

“We have worked along with Mudhara Tuku, holding a number of shows here in South Africa where we have celebrated his life and music. We are having another gig here next month where he celebrates his birthday here in Johannesburg,” he said.

Tuku is working on a compilation album titled Abiyangu (My Colleagues) that features a number of Zimbabwean and African musicians, including Black Mambazo, Chama Girl, James Sakala, Tocky Vibes and Mathias Mhere, among others.

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