Tuku’s music lives beyond his grave

The late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi

The debate continues!

Oliver Mtukudzi Day or not!

His music plays far and wide, probably making Dr Oliver Mtukudzi, turn and twist in his grave with amusement.

For Tuku, as he was known by his legion of fans the world over, it is a fact, not fiction, that his music has lived way after him.

That speaks to his legendary discography or symphony; his connection to people’s real-life issues; his mastery of the guitar and voice projection and indeed his completeness as a social commentator.

Tuku died on January 23, 2019 and was declared a national hero, becoming the first Zimbabwean artiste to get that accolade.

He was buried at his rural home in Madziva, Shamva in a befitting funeral wake.

His family and friends commemorated his birthday posthumously on September 30 at Pakare Paye.

He would have turned 71 on September 22.

And the Mtukudzi family has inherited the tradition of marking the legend’s birth each year.

This year’s commemorations saw author and poet Chirikure Chirikure, theatre professional Daves Guzha, Bob Nyabinde, legislator Brian Mudhumi from Masvingo, former Norton MP Temba Mliswa, Norton councillor Tinashe Machemedze, Cde Taka Mashonganyika, (who came in the company of his mother), in attendance.

Now the review of the show trended on various platforms and comments from many of Tuku’s fans revealed they are for Oliver Mtukudzi Day to be set aside on the entertainment calendar.

But some disagreed in their comments, dividing the nation on whether the relative authorities should declare a Tuku Day or not?

One social media fanatic identified as Masekera Proctor said it was not necessary to have a holiday for Tuku, but rather a day like everyone to be remembered.

“We will end up having all the calendar days as holiday, unless if it’s just a day to remember him not necessarily a holiday,” he said.

Gregory Micheal Chaminuka was of the opinion that the setting aside of an official day to remember Tuku would raise debate on why others who played a pivotal role in music did not have such a day officially set aside for them.

“What about Leonard Dembo who was more talented than Tuku? And what about the other greats like Dhewa, Simon Chimbetu, System Tazvida and John Chibadura?” said Chaminuka.

Russel Tati did not agree with those opposing the idea of setting aside a day for Tuku, stating: “Tuku Day toida panational calendar (we want the day to be on our national calendar, the old man contributed a lot to our arts industry.)” Memory Dube said it was a good move, but why not honour Tuku with a statue to be placed at the centre of Harare and in other areas?

Prince Rangarirai Rupondo said: “I have nothing against Tuku, but come on, let’s maybe have a day that we celebrate all the artistes.”

Having a national day on national calendar to remember an artiste is not new, as in some countries, some famous singer are remembered in that way.

In 2014, January, Bill Simpson — the mayor of Aberdeen, Washington — announced that beginning this year, February 20th will be celebrated annually as Kurt Cobain Day.

“Aberdeen residents may justifiably take pride in the role our community played in the life of Kurt Cobain and the international recognition our community has gained from its connections with Kurt Cobain and his artistic achievements,” states the official proclamation.

The city’s population more than 16 000 already pays tribute to its most famous resident on its welcome sign, which touts the slogan “Come As You Are.”

Then January 8th, Elvis Presley’s birthday, has become a day of tribute for the original King of Rock “n” Roll’s for fans around the world. But Graceland in Memphis is still the mecca for his most devoted admirers, where Elvis Presley Day is a multi-day affair with a jam-packed calendar of events that this year included a gospel music tribute, a trivia tour, and, of course, cake!

Among the many fine contributions Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has made to the pop culture conversation in the past several months is the official declaration of February 6th as Bob Marley Day.


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