Zimbabwean Superstar Oliver Mtukudzi

October 7, 2019 5:26 am21 commentsViews: 82

Tuku was born in 1952 in Highfields, Harare. He is 57 years old and may be considered very old on the Zimbabwean music scene because younger singers came and went, dying prematurely mostly due to AIDS, a tragic disease that has killed many people in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean Superstar Oliver Mtukudzi

Tuku is a legend by virtue of his longevity but also because he is a prolific singer/songwriter, a gifted guitarist, a performer par excellence and is the best selling artist of all time in Zimbabwe.

His career spans more than three decades and is only surpassed in longevity by one other living Zimbabwean music legend, Thomas ‘Mukanya’ Mapfumo, who is seven years older than Tuku.

Tuku’s Early Career

Tuku’s first chart success registered after he joined the Wagon Wheels in 1977. Their single Dzandimomotera (troubles cling to me) was certified gold.

Mtukudzi left the band and released his first album Ndipeiwo Zano (give me guidance) in 1978, and never looked back. Tuku has released 47 albums to date. The Black Spirits have supported him since the release of his first album.

Mtukudzi enjoys popularity throughout Southern Africa. His fan base straddles all age groups and both sexes.

Tuku’s music is a fusion of many genres and incorporates components of Western pop, aspects of South African mbaqan’a and Zimbabwean brands.

Awards and Accolades for Tuku

Tuku has received numerous awards to highlight his musical achievements. He is also a recipient of an honorary degree from the University of Zimbabwe.

Message and Politics

Tuku’s message, as much as his voice and production, appeals to the masses and beyond. He sings about the troubles that beset his people from domestic violence, inequality, poverty and AIDS. However, despite the political upheavals that engulfed the country for a decade, he seemed to have steered away from politics.

But this has not stopped fans who are so inclined to give his message a political meaning.

A case in point is his song Wasakara (“You are Old”), which captured the imagination of an urban population fed up of Mugabe’s rule. In the song Tuku urges an old man to age gracefully. Those who opposed Mugabe felt that the song was directed at him, an old man clinging to power. However, this was probably just a social song.

In Zimbabwe an unhealthy percentage of old men are noted for their sexual dalliances with or marriage to women young enough to be their children or grandchildren as is the case with President Mugabe and his wife Grace Marufu.

Tuku’s non-political lyrics, as opposed to the revolutionary songs of the Chimurenga maestro Thomas Mapfumo, may also explain his never waning and broad appeal.


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