PERSON OF INTEREST: Zimbabwe and one of Africa’s finest-Oliver Mtukudzi.

Zimbabwe is a Southern African state known for many firsts, and the knowledge that one of the most celebrated and respected musician calls it his home country make me curious to want to know a little more about the country. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country, sandwiched between the Limpopo and Zambezi River which among many things;

  • Had the longest serving president (Mugabe)
  • Has one the world’s highest literacy levels (almost 90%)
  • Is famed for the famous Victorious falls that falls from height of over 100m and is over 1km in length. The falls thunders and forms mist in its wake( a breath taking sight indeed)
  • Zimbabweans prefer other countries’ currency to their own due to
  • English, Shona and Ndebele are the main languages in Zimbabwe, are also used in communication in schools
  • Zimbabweans love Bota, which is essentially their staple food. Taken mostly at breakfast, Bota is a kind of porridge with peanut (Cornmeal mixed with hot water; and butter added up for flavor and taste).
  • Zimbabwe Legalized growing growing of Marijuana (mbanje) for medicinal and research purposes in Africa after Lesotho.

Tuku

Oliver Mtukudzi was born in Gweru, Zimbabwe back in 1952 and began performing 20 years later in 1977. Both an actor and composer, he is a member of KoreKore Group, and his familiar husky voice and guitar make his music stand out amongst other diverse African genres. Oliver mostly sings in Shona language, but mixes his creative pieces it with Ndebele and English to create his unique Tuku Music (Afro Jazz). Already, Oliver enjoys a large following in Zimbabwe, Africa and globally.

Among his greatest compositions include;

  • Todii
  • Ngagarwa Nhaka
  • Wasakara
  • Mutserendende
  • Mabasa
  • Kunze Kwandoka
  • Neria

The vocals and unique arrangement and performance of the accepella song Hello My Baby is super, with the video giving a view of the Tuku’s iconic creative and vibrant personality as he performed in the master piece alongside Ladysmith Black Mambazo. During his long and illustrious career as a professional artist, Tuku has released multiple albums, all which attest his prowess and longevity in Afro Jazz.

His talent and contribution in music is not in vain, evident in numerous prestigious awards and positions of recognition for his works. In 2003, Oliver won KORA Awards for Best African Male Artist and Lifetime Award Achievement. In 2011, he was endorsed as the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa. There are other numerous awards, including being awarded honorary Doctorates by the International Institute of Philanthropy and Great Zimbabwe University  respectively in 2014 for his prolific work throughout the years and contributions to humanity as a professional artist.

Tuku 2Certainly, alongside Africa’s greats like Africa’s greatest African creative minds such as Miriam Makeba (South Africa), Salif Keita (Mali), Femi Kuti (Nigeria), Youssou N’dour (Senegal), Wole Soyinka (Nigeria), Ayi Kwei Armah (Ghana), Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Kenya) and others, respect and accolades should be deservedly given to Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi’s contribution to African music and culture and his mark through the decades in active music and art performance.

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