Elemotho remembers Mtukudzi


Multi-award winning internationally acclaimed artist, Elemotho Mosimane has lamented the passing on of musical guru Oliver Mtukudzi saying that he was a father figure.


The artist passed away last week at a Harare clinic after a long battle with diabetes, his death throwing the musical world into darkness.


Due to his global stardom and image as a United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) goodwill ambassador, he was declared a national hero by Zimbabwean political authorities.


He becomes one among four personalities that attained the status without being liberation heroes, although his music springs from Zimbabwe’s repressive past under a colonial government.


His first solo album for instance ‘Ndipeiwo Zano’ or loosely translated to “Give me an idea” is a revolutionary anthem which he birthed during the war of liberation in Zimbabwe.


“Pindurai Mambo” or “Answer me Lord” is another of Tuku’s rendition of the war which painted vivid portraits of homeless guerillas. 


Elemotho, who has toured Zimbabwe for the Harare International Festival of the Arts many times remembers him as one artist who had a unique approach to music.


That Tuku managed to bring about a record 66 albums in his 66 years of life is an astounding feat that no ordinary artist could do, Elemotho added.


“Some of us grew under Tuku’s music, the whole Chimurenga sound. Tuku had a way of finger-picking, the husky voice. I remember watching him on stage and he did these crazy performances. So for me, he is our papa, you know,” he recollected.


Mtukudzi pushed the culture of contemporary artists while world music will remain the poorer in his absence, Elemotho added.


“I hope that some of us will pick from where he left and push the culture forward,” he said.


 He used the power of music and impactful lyrics to speak out against stigma, discrimination, and abuse of children, and inspired people at all levels of society to take action on behalf of children, a statement by UNICEF said.


“As a tireless advocate to end child marriage, he composed the emotive song ‘Haasati Aziva’ (‘You can’t pledge your child for marriage’) and most recently, during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, he authored a compelling opinion editorial in Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper, calling for an end to this harmful practice.”


 “UNICEF offers its deepest condolences to Oliver Mtukudzi’s family and Zimbabweans everywhere. We honour his memory as a champion of children’s rights,” said UNICEF.


Mtukudzi created a unique sound that came to be defined as 'Tuku Music’ which is a fusion of jazz and jiti and sung in Shona, Ndebele, and English.