The Sunday Mail
Features & Entertainment Editor
LEGENDARY artiste, the late great Dr Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi would have turned 67 today.
As was his custom, Tuku would have a series of interviews with journalists on his birthday and throw lavish parties, sometimes in triplicates.
Then, he would have a small family affair, where his siblings, children, grandchildren and other close family members would gather at his home.
Sometimes he would go on to host a birthday dinner at his Pakare Paye Arts Centre for the who-is-who of Norton, close friends, business associates, arts practitioners and a few journalists.
Usually, the celebrations would culminate in a mammoth bash held at any of the big venues in Harare, although he seemed to prefer the Harare International Conference Centre and Glamis Arena.
Eight months after the celebrated artiste breathed his last and was laid to rest in Madziva, his rural home, the tradition of the massive birthday parties continues.
This Friday, his widow, Daisy, with the help of promoters Taka Mashonganyika and Partson Chimbodza of Chipaz Promotions, stages a massive gig dubbed “Tuku Memorial Concert & Birthday Celebration” at the Glamis Arena.
Daisy, who has been off the radar since her husband passed on, refusing to talk to the media even on the rare occasions that she appeared in public, finally came out of her shell last week.
Although she refused a face-to-face interview, she responded to questions sent to her by The Sunday Mail Society.
She began by acknowledging that 2019 has been a bad year for her.
Asked how she is coping without her husband of nearly 40 years, Daisy said, “To be honest, it has been very difficult for me because Tuku and I were always together. In as much as we know he is no more, to me he is still there, that is why I’m doing his birthday. I’m doing this as I have always done it for him every September.”
The birthday celebration is being headlined by Zimbabwe’s crème-de-la-crème, among them Alick Macheso, Jah Prayzah, Winky D, Soul Jah Love and Enzo Ishall.
South Africa’s Micasa and two Zambian outfits, Amayenge and James Sakala, have also been thrown into the mix.
“I’m doing what Nzou would have wanted to do,” she said with reference to the impressive line-up of artistes who worked with the late superstar.
She added: “…we have always celebrated him every September and we are giving his fans what they always received from him.”
When Dr Mtukudzi died, he was working on his 67th album. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to see its fruition.
We asked Daisy if she is going to release any posthumous albums from Tuku’s obviously bloated bag of unreleased music.
“Yes, Tuku had an album. We have it and have plans for it in the near future. It is not one album — there is plenty of material, though we do not want to make it an issue for the public for now.”
On her plans for Pakare Paye Arts Centre, a multi-million dollar structure, which houses state-of-the-art recording studios, rehearsal space, conferencing facilities, restaurants, bars, boutiques and a hotel — Daisy said she will stick to her husband’s vision.
“The plans had already been set by Tuku and the plan is to continue with the same wish and vision. The Pakare Paye Ensemble still exists, bands come to rehearse at the studio as they always did when Nzou (Tuku) was there,” she said.
Commenting on the fate of the band left behind by Dr Mtukudzi, the Black Spirits, Daisy said they hold their destiny in their own hands.
“The Black Spirits band will continue if they are serious. I repeat, only if they are serious. I need you to emphasise this in your paper.”
When Daisy and Tuku lost their only son, Sam, in a tragic accident in 2010, his band AY Band survived for a few months before fizzling out. Tuku attributed their demise to a lack of commitment. The Black Spirits have not been visible on the local front and could soon be overshadowed by Selmor’s original Black Spirits, which plays consistently locally and abroad.
With regards to her relationship with stepdaughters Selmor and Sandra, which has played out its toxicity in public — she said the only important thing that people should know is that “Inini ndiri Amai and ivo vana (I’m the mother and they are children)”.
Tuku, who died on January 23 this year in Harare after a long illness, left behind an enormous catalogue of best-selling albums, yet to be quantified unreleased material and a rich legacy. Reports suggest that his burial site has become an attraction of sorts with loyal fans and music lovers in general driving all the way to Madziva to lay wreaths at his grave or just to visit his grave.
“Madziva is home and anyone who wants can go there to see Tuku’s resting place. It’s a home that is accessible to everyone. Tuku was a people’s person and we do not want to let him down. We allow anyone to have access to him even in death.”