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BREAKING: Oliver Mtukudzi family reject Mnangagwa Heroes Acre burial

ZIMBABWE musician Oliver Mtukudzi’s family has politely declined an offer by President Mnangagwa and Zanu PF government to bury the legendary singer at the Heroes Acre, opting to lay him to rest at his rural home in Madziva instead.

Mtukudzi passed on at Harare’s Avenues Clinic on Wednesday after battling with diabetes. A family source indicated that Mtukudzi will be buried in Madziva on Sunday at 2pm. “He wanted to be buried close to his ancestors” the source said.

Mtukudzi was declared a ‘National Hero’ by the Politburo yesterday.

Reflections and nostalgic memories of Zimbabwe’s late music icon

When the news of music icon Oliver Mtukudzi’s departure filtered through, telephones lines in our newsroom went buzzing as Zimbabweans from the wide and breath of the globe called seeking confirmation.

Zimbabwe has had a history of rumours pertaining the death of prominent personalities, with some confirmed to be true, while others were false. One such personality who had been rumoured to have died several times is former president Robert Mugabe.

With that in mind, a number of our readers phoned us seeking clarity.

“It is true and confirmed that he is gone,” I told one caller, followed by a deep silence on the other side of the line, as the caller tries to come to terms with the news.

‘Tuku’ as Mtukudzi was affectionately known, was a man of the people, his music and sense of humour touched many lives.

It has been said ‘a person’s legacy is not measured by how long one has survived on this planet; but by how many lives one has impacted’ and this saying has been proven to be true, for Tuku’s larger than life personality.

This writer, vividly remembers one close encounter with the soft-spoken legend sometime in 2015, at his Pakare Paye arts Centre in Norton, what a humble man he was, despite all the fame.

This publication took it to the streets of Harare, early today, and as we move around, Tuku’s music could be heard from every corner of the city, with its acoustic tunes piercing the surroundings, and filtering every wind that blew.

The sound of the home his music seemed to have neutralised the tense atmosphere that had engulfed the Zimbabwe’s capital city, following the recent protests and the subsequent brutal assaults of the civilians by the country’s security forces.

Despite the continued heavy presence of the police and military personnel in the streets, people could not hide their sentimental memories of Tuku, the legend.

“Tuku raive dhara ndovaka gadzira music industry yemuZimbabwe (Mtukudzi was a legend, who played a key role in shaping the Zimbabwean music industry),” said Tineyi Chesa, a vendor who sells pirated musical discs.

Chesa said Tuku’s compositions presented a perfect work of art, have managed to stand the test of the clock, and will continue impact positively to the current generation and those to come after.

Chesa, who has been selling musical CDs, for the past 23 years, and being a music critic, said Tuku was one of the country’s music pioneers, whose league included Leonard Dembo, James Chimombe, John Chibadura, and Simon Chimbetu, all now late.

A number of people in the streets of Harare, who spoke to agreed with Chesa that Tuku was a true music icon, and a ceremonial grandfather of the Zimbabwean music sector, they an irreplaceable void have been created by his passing on.

Tuku famed for music such as Neria, in which he urges a widow to soldier on, and calls for the promotion of gender balance. The song takes a swipe at some people who are inclined to extort property from a widow, after the death of their relative. It later became a soundtrack for a local film ‘Neria’ that was written by renowned Zimbabwean author and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga, whose theme was inheritance, gender equality and balance.

Another hit song by Tuku is Tozeza Baba, which looks at and lambasts a drunkard, abusive father, while, dzoka uyamwe, is a memory of a mother calling her last born being mistreated in a foreign land to come back to her and breastfeed, as well as Bvuma, in which he urged older generations to make way for younger ones. The later reportedly gave him hard times with the authorities, as former president Robert Mugabe’s central intelligence operatives ‘CIOs’ allegedly went after him, as they thought the song was penned to mock their boss who was clinging to power then, despite the old age.

Meanwhile, Tuku who died aged 66, was declared a National Hero by the ruling party’s ‘Political Bureau’ (The Politburo), ZANU PF’s highest decision-making body in between congresses, but he would be buried at his rural home in Madziva, Mashonaland Central Province.

The family politely declined President Mnangagwa’s offer to bury the loved cadre at the National Shrine(Heroes Acre).



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