Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

Kenyans pay glowing tribute to renowned Afro-jazz legend

Pastor Charles Charamba and his wife Olivia arriving at Tuku’s funeral in Norton Pastor Charles Charamba and his wife Olivia arriving at Tuku’s funeral in Norton
Lora Ball | 25 January, 2019, 23:27

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi a national hero. "What is left is to celebrate his life".

Mtukudzi passed on at the Avenues Clinic on Wednesday after battling diabetes for some time.

Mtukudzi's career stretched from white minority-ruled Rhodesia to majority-ruled Zimbabwe, producing a string of hits that spread his fame to an worldwide audience.

Tuku, as he was widely known, avoided political controversy. Called Hanya'Ga, which translates as "Concern" in the Shona language, it came out last February - three months after Mr Mugabe, who had ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years, was ousted.

The hero status is conferred by the president, "where the President considers that any deceased person who was a citizen of Zimbabwe has deserved well of his country on account of outstanding, distinctive and distinguished service", reads the National Heroes Act.

"He was a nation-builder".

They spoke as a government crackdown continued on protests against sharp fuel price increases, with human rights lawyers, NGOs, witnesses and the opposition reporting abuses by the military, police and ruling party youth gangs. "For such a plain fact, we, mere mortals, can only acknowledge as we all hereby do", he said. "He expressed his shock at his death and expressed his deepest and honest condolences", said President Mnangagwa.

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Neria, which is one of Oliver's most popular songs, is ode to a grieving woman.

His song entitled "Todii" became most popular in Uganda and in several countries. "That is how I learned to play the guitar".

A legend in the vibrant cross-genre music of Afro-jazz, Mtukudzi released 66 albums in a career that spanned 45 years.

Zimbabweans on various social networking sites had also made a unanimous declaration, making Mtukudzi the people's hero. "He was like a father figure", said MacDonald Chidavaenzi, a songwriter and producer.

President Mnangagwa urged the relatives of the national hero to take care of the family left behind.

He added that the Mtukudzi family will decide where and when Tuku will be buried.

Even when most African musicians bowed to the western culture influence in their songs, Mtukudzi never changed his Tuku style.

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