I recently went up in my loft and started digging in my storage boxes and found my old iPod player, which had classics from back in the day, Things that used to inspire and move me. I listened to a few tracks and I was particularly taken back at some of the African songs I had collected in my playlist called Afro Tunes. I played some Tuku and felt indebted to write a tribute even though its old, his music remains alive and made me feel the same way I felt when I first heard. Rest In Power Tuku!
Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century in Southern Africa and the world, he is often referred to as the spiritual father of Zimbabwe, Oliver Mtukudzi, also known as “Tuku” was born in 1952 from a family of avid musicians.
As one of the very few African musicians to ever grace the Time front cover, Tuku played a huge role in his advocacy endeavours by using his popularity status to bring light to the many struggles that Africans faced.
Not only did he sing, he played the guitar and danced while leading and coordinating a tight band of guitarists, keyboards, percussionists and dancers.
His discography contains more than 60 albums and his appearances worldwide made him the international icon with successful tours under his belt.
As an avid campaigner for women’s rights, Tuku wrote a tribute titled “Neria” expressing the sombre struggles that African women faced when dealing with patriarchal customary laws in relation to inheritance. The success of this song was so huge that it had a movie named after it.
With his unique husky voice and guitar skills, Tuku created a whole new genre of music called “Tuku music” by blending various southern African rhythms into one.
As Zimbabwe continues to face political tensions driven by party lines and loyalties, Tuku encouraged and embraced the apolitical path by focussing on reuniting the nation as one rather than choosing one side.
The loss of this great musical titan can be felt as the commiserations of sadness pour from across Africa to honour and celebrate his legacy as a “national icon” as well as “a father, brother, grandfather, uncle, and above all a husband to his loving wife Daisy Mtukudzi.”
Tuku gave the young generations of Zimbabweans and Southern Africans hope by being The Peoples Voice of comfort during the most difficult and trialling times. He used his voice to resonate and speak about spreading the message that people needed to love one another in these hard times.