SEPTEMBER 22 is a special day on the calendar for the late Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi’s family.
His family, friends and fans used to mark this day with festivities during his lifetime. Sadly, he lost his battle against diabetes in January 2019.
The late music icon would have turned 71 today.
His music is still as wonderful as before, four years after his demise.
He recorded over 60 albums and several singles, leaving a rich catalogue of songs.
His widow Daisy, children, music promoters and former workmates still miss him.
Tuku’s widow said the family still feels empty without the late superstar.
She hailed the world for believing in Tuku’s legacy, which she hopes is in safe hands.
However, the family won’t hold a big party this year due to financial constraints.
“We would have loved to hold a festival of some kind, but we are incapacitated to stage such an event.
“We will only hold a small dinner with family friends at Pakare Paye because that’s what we can afford,” she said.
Daisy emphasised that his loss is still hard to take in.
“It’s yet to sink in that Tuku is gone. The only comfort we get are the fans who still play his music and respect his legacy.”
Tuku’s daughter hardly contains her emotions when she thinks about him.
“It’s a painful reminder that he is gone. I was born on the 22nd of August, my dad 22nd of September, and my dad’s brother Robert 22nd of October. He mentioned this to me when I was a kid and it has always made me feel special.
“Now that they are both (Oliver and Robert) gone, it’s painful to think about it, but I’m glad we had something to bond with,” she said.
Selmor shared the last advice she got from Tuku before his death.
“He told me to work hard and stay humble. I have seen this advice working well for me. I have had opportunities given to me simply because they find it easier to work with me than other colleagues in the industry. This is one secret that a lot of people do not know.
“I’m super proud of the work my father put in and am grateful for the love that people are still showing him even in death.
“It is not easy having that amount of loyalty from people all over the world. It makes me very happy.”
Ace music promoter, Partson “Chipaz” Chimbodza, hailed Tuku for making a huge mark in the music industry.
“To Tuku fans, he is gone, but we still have him in spirit and in his songs, which changed many lives. In my own capacity, I always play his songs to this day.
“To the family, let’s keep his legacy intact and maintain the same relations with everyone as Tuku would have wanted.”
Promoter and family friend Josh Hozheri believes Tuku’s life should be celebrated all the time.
“Tuku’s fans were left with a lot of music to enjoy. He left music that has staying power, rich in content and message.
“Indeed, his music has continued regardless of him no longer being around.
“Tuku is one artist whose music has lived beyond his time and I am one of those who celebrates my birthday with his music.”
Hozheri reckons local artists have plenty to learn from Tuku.
“Local artists can learn how to be exemplary as celebrities. Tuku was indeed humble and a very down-to-earth artist.
“This helped his brand and he created his chain demand around his humility. He was a hard worker and a professional artist.
“He would embrace all and sundry and this is proven by the fact that he recorded with all artists, be it sungura, reggae, dancehall, gospel, jiti or urban grooves.”
Hozheri still has fond memories of Tuku.
“I celebrated with Tuku on several occasions, notably Tuku @50 and Tuku @60.
“This was an honour for me. To have been in his life as a youngster for all these years, I shall forever remain grateful.
“Tuku@60 which I did together with Chipaz, Taka Mashonganyika, and Chidzomba stands out to date as the most celebrated birthday of a Zimbabwean artist. “Attendance was well over 40 000 paying guests.
“His music has serious messages that should be passed on to the next generation.”
- FAITH KADZURA (PAKARE PAYE)
The Pakare Paye arts administrator feels empty without Tuku.
“Celebrating Tuku’s birthday without him is not easy.
“We lost a father and legend who impacted the lives, not only of us as a family, but the nation at large.
“Musically, he made a mark and influence on generations to come, and socially he taught us to remain humble and not let society and pressure push us.
“The prosperity for posterity was always been his mantra. He always looked beyond future generations.
“I remember vividly how he laughed and danced to celebrate life during his last birthday with us.”
- MONO MUKUNDU
The former Black Spirits member and Monolio Studios owner said:
“I still have fond memories of Tuku. The funny part of it is that Tuku and my mother are the two deceased people I still dream about regularly.
“He was my best boss ever. I will celebrate his birthday through the memories I had with him.
“Many doors opened for me because of Tuku who was there for me. He also taught me authenticity,” he said.