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Tuku: A legend remembered

By Style Reporters

For the better part of last week and days to come, music lovers from across the length and breadth of the world took time and will take time to commemorate and remember the wonderful work done by music superstar Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, who passed on last year.

The music legend is being remembered not only for his prowess on the stage, but also his desire to see the general arts spectrum develop.

Tuku died on January 23 at the age of 66 at a Harare hospital. He was declared a national hero and interred at his rural home in Madziwa, Mashonaland Central province.

To show his popularity, a record crowd attended his burial with some mourners coming from across the continent.

For such a prominent figure, it would have been folly on the part of his relatives and colleagues in the music fraternity to let the first anniversary of his death pass with an action.

The late musician’s wife, Daisy, said the family was mulling over turning the Madziwa homestead into a tourist spot.

“Madziwa is our family home just like our house here in Norton and we all make sure the place is taken good care of. We have plans to turn it into a tourist spot so that his legacy lives on,” she said.

Daisy spent the better part of last week in Madziwa.

On Thursday, Selmor, the late musician’s daughter, dropped a single titled Mandidzimbira, a precursor to her sixth album tiltled Dehwe Renzou.

According to Selmor’s manager and a long-time colleague of her father, Josh Wozheri, the single and album are part of a cocktail of activities meant to commemorate the late music superstar.

“You will realise that on January 31 Selmor will be releasing her album, Dehwe Renzou, and on Thursday, which was Mudhara Tuku’s first death anniversary, she released the single Mandidzimbira. This is how we are remembering Mudhara Tuku, but there are many things in store,” Wozheri said.

Mandidzimbira is a dedication to the late musician and is part of the album as a bonus track.

Wozheri believes that Selmor is the rightful heiress to the Tuku throne taking cognisance of how she has tried to keep the legendary musician’s legacy alive.

“There are many things that have happened since Mudhara Tuku passed on last year. Selmor has tried to fill in the gap left by her late father and as management we have tried to augment her desire to keep her father’s music alive,” he said.

“Since Mudhara Tuku was known globally, we are also taking Selmor’s music internationally.”

Wozheri said Selmor would grace some of the festivals that Tuku featured prominently, including the South Africa Jazz Festival, Cape Town International Jazz Festival and OppiKoppi Music Festival (South Africa), MTN Bushfire Festival (Swaziland), MTN Nyege Nyege Festival (Uganda), as well as the Oregon Jazz Festival (US), among others.

The music promoter guru said apart from attending the festivals, Selmor would enhance her music through collaborations with top artistes.

“Her forthcoming album bears testimony that she is now of international standard. The quality of her music speaks volume of the musician she is today,” Wozheri said.

“She engaged Steve Dyer and Mark Baggio on the forthcoming album and it’s pure quality music. We will continue to engage some of the best artistes for collaborations.”

Youth, Arts, Sport and Recreation deputy minister Tinoda Machakaire encouraged youths to take a leaf from the work of luminaries like Tuku.

“As we remember and celebrate our music icon Dr Tuku, I would like to continuously encourage young people to follow their dreams and live a life well-lived because at the end of the day, we are going to be remembered for we made others feel,” Machakaire said.

“Dr Tuku touched so many hearts through his music. He was a true icon of peace up to his death, uniting people from all walks of life.”

Meanwhile, Tuku Music manager Walter Wanyanya said a series of activities to honour Tuku had been lined up this year, including releasing of posthumous songs and videos for the late superstar.

“We have work ready to be released in the form of an album that he himself [Tuku] worked on and finished before he passed away,” Wanyanya said.

“It will be the second part of the Abiangu series and this will be titled Abiangu. It will be out before the end of the first quarter.

“We also plan to have various events dotted throughout the year and as we set each one, we will notify the public as usual.”

Tuku did a compilation album titled Abiangu (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.

Wanyanya, who is also a nephew of the late musician, said efforts were being made to keep the Tuku legacy alive.

“We need to maintain the work Tuku started and keep it moving in the right direction which will see growth in all the different areas he was involved in.

Everything obviously being done from his hub Pakare Paye Arts Centre.”

Tongai Mbidzo of Extratime Entertainment, who worked with the late music superstar doing gigs to celebrate Tuku’s birthdays in South Africa, said he hoped to continue doing Tuku tribute concerts in South Africa.

“We have worked along with Mudhara Tuku, holding a number of shows here in South Africa where we have celebrated his life and music,” Mbidzo said.

“For the Tuku legacy here in South Africa, we will engage custodians of the Tuku Music brand so that we hold tribute shows in South Africa the way we celebrated the legendary musician’s birthdays.”

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