A tribute to the African Legend, Dr Oliver Mtukudzi

February 1, 2019

The African continent and beyond is saddened by the passing of Dr Oliver Mtukudzi. Tuku, Samanyanga, Nzou was an inspiration, a mentor, a friend to many, a father to a nation, a piece builder to the war torn nations, a calabash of knowledge, a Hero to his fellow country-men. He was known for his humility, his kind heart, and his humanitarian work in the fight towards improving the lives of others. Millions of people around the globe have had something to say about this ‘gentle giant,’ from the most powerful political leaders to ordinary citizens. This is not just a tribute but a testimonial signed by numerous lives touched by Tuku, the African Legend.

Brita Masalethulini – Model, Businesswoman, Radio personality at CapiTalk

Learning about the sad loss of the legendary award winning Dr Oliver Mtukudzi has been heartbreaking. He was an icon of music that touched almost every Zimbabwean’s heart through his kind hearted nature and powerful music. I personally grew up listening to him and encountered him on a number of occasions during my career, more excitingly as Miss Malaika at the Kora music awards in South Africa. He has set a high standard for great quality music; his shoes will be hard to fill. Our prayers are with his family as they grieve the loss of a husband, father and friend. May His Dear Soul Rest in Peace.

Amard ZW (born Nonkululeko Dube) – Radio personality at ZiFM

Growing up, I knew who Tuku was and I knew music but not as well as some would profess. What struck me when I met Dr Oliver last year as a guest on The Big Show were the conversations that ensued both on and off air. It felt like we were ‘traditionally’ sitting on the floor in front of an elder and being schooled about life. You should have seen the way SoProfound, TichMataz and I were just soaking in everything he was saying because it made sense to us. His words spoke to the African in us. I say African because simply confining it to Zimbabwe would be a remiss as his words spoke to ‘ubuntubethu,’ our innate Africanness. His music will inspire future generations and remind them who they are and where they come from.
Lala ngokuthula Ndlovu. Amazwi enu azahlala lam’ kuzekubenini.

Monika Chanda – Radio personality at Classic 263

I never quite understood what it meant when people said “music is food for the soul.” It takes the sound of a musical giant to bring this statement to life and remain true. An icon, social commentator, humanitarian and one of the most famous voices to come out of Zimbabwe, your legacy will take generations to come to a level we can only imagine.

Thank you for your music, thank you for uniting nations, thank you for providing a platform for budding artists to believe that it can be done. Thank you for the work you have done advocating issues of unfair inheritance practice, encouraging humanity to be kind to the less privileged, youth empowerment, equality, unity amongst races and those of various beliefs, your continuous fight against the HIV Aids pandemic and the calls you made against injustice by leaders who forget the people they are supposed to serve.

Need I say more? Yours was a life of social commentary rich in experience. I celebrate you; my tears are sorrowful and joyful. I will not ask “Seiko,” but for the heavens to open and receive you ‘Ndizarurire”. Legends and heroes never die; they simply live in your heart. Like an elephant`s spoor, you leave a giant footprint in the minds of many and to this I say
“..Ndimandasakurandazunza….” Go well ‘Nzou, Samanyanga.’ REST IN POWER Dr Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi.

Arnold ‘Soprofound’ Chirimika – Radio personality ZiFM

Saying anything about VaMtukudzi especially now that he’s gone is very difficult, it’s like being given a million outfits to try on and you’re only supposed to choose one. There is so much to say and all of it so important and impactful. I grew up with Tuku, he was the soundtrack to my parent’s journey. I would soon catch on to his music in my own voyage as I grew older. Discovering the genius and depth of what it meant then and how it remains timeless was and will always be mind blowing.
I have a lot to say but nothing that hasn’t been said already by many others who have been impacted by him. However, if I could have one last conversation with him, l would just tell him that I get it now. You said it the last time we saw you, ‘there is no need to compromise’. You don’t compromise, you did it all in the comfort of who you are. I get it now and thank you! Go well Samanyanga!

Kuda Musasiwa – Musician, Hip Hop producer, manager

When I started playing the Guitar, I was deeply inspired by Tuku’s genius in mbirafication of the instrument. He was a master at jazzing up pentatonic scales in a syncopated way that left many in awe. He was the best that ever did it. The only person who could have replaced him, sadly passed before him – his son Sam. RIP to a Legend

Napoleon Nyanhi – Founding Station Manager at CapiTalk FM

Oliver Mtukudzi made me proud to be Zimbabwean. I recall arguing with a South African friend in 2014 who was convinced that Tuku was South African. He was such an icon to her she thought he was her countryman from the Venda Limpopo region where the language is closer to Shona. I remember drawing so much pride and satisfaction from telling her his totem and history. He will be remembered as the gold standard of Zimbabwean music and the African definition of humility.

I interacted with him numerous times at events and concerts but what stood out for me was how he respected his art. He was very professional, always on time and always delivered a polished act. May future generations know that Zimbabwe produced a humble international icon whose race ended in 2019; the buttons he handed us will forever make Zimbabwe a jewel to be proud of.
Fambai zvakanaka murigazvuru, Nzou Samanyanga, the Zimbabwean Music Patriach!

Evonne ‘Eve’ Mudzingwa – Fitness Coach

It’s amazing how someone you didn’t know personally can impact your life. How someone is so much a part of your life and has been there for you in this journey called life; consoled you when you lost a loved one, rejoiced with you in happy times and has been your spiritual counsellor. You were that person in my life. You may have departed this earth but you will continue to be a companion. Thank you for the music. I’ve never have I met a humbler soul. May your soul Rest In Peace. Zororai Murugare

Godfrey ‘Chief’ Koti – Business executive at ZTA and former radio personality

Dr Oliver Mtukudzi was Zimbabwe’s most renowned and internationally recognised music icon. He greatly impacted the world’s music and arts scene.

Lets not mourn but celebrate his illustrious life, it is a life well lived. He is a legend whose music has cut across generations, inspiring, entertaining and educating many across the world.

He is the greatest Ambassador this country has had. Tuku embodied the culture and heritage of Zimbabwe across the globe. Let’s honour and appreciate his relentless efforts in promoting Zimbabwe as a must visit destination through music.

I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family and friends. It is indeed a huge loss to the country at large. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Cynthia Bizure Sithole – Entrepreneur

It’s sad that we have been robbed of a giant, Dr Oliver Mtukudzi. In him, we’ve lost a father figure, a fountain of wisdom, hope, instruction and entertainment. His words shaped our lives and society. His music was a source of inspiration for all, he made the impossible seem possible, the complex simple; he made me feel like I too can be as great. I believe by reflecting on his life, his works, and the journey walked, one can find the purpose and greatness that lies within them. ‘Legends don’t die, they live on.’ Tuku has not departed, he has been elevated, and his music shall always live on in our hearts and souls.

Love from Leah Nachipo (Founding Director) and Timeless photos staff

You fought a good fight. You made a name for Zimbabwe. To us you are a Hero, a friend; always bubbly and so calm. To Daisy and the family, you are in our thoughts and we pray that God sends you a peace no man can understand. RIP TUKU NZOU SAMANYANGA

Chef Rumbie (born Rumbidzai Faith Mugabe) – Chef

Music has always been known to bring people together.

There’s something about passion driven careers that easily impacts, feeds love and positive energy into others unknowingly. Your music did that, you did that, sang Ubuntu/Unhu into people’s ears. May your music continue to teach, inspire and move individuals, families, friends, fellow countrymen and nations.
Baba Vatakurei, Vakuyambutsei.
#RIPL (Rest In Peace Legend)

Thembe Khumalo – Managing Director at Brandbuilder, Writer, Speaker, Coach

Sometimes even a writer is lost for words.
Sometimes the legend is just too large to be contained in syntax and sentences.
What Oliver Mutukudzi brought;
What he taught;
What he modelled for us as a nation;
As people from many nations..

It cannot be put into words,
It cannot be replicated,
Nor can it be translated,
It can never be outdone.

In can only be appreciated, endorsed, encouraged, and to the best of our effort, emulated.

We will miss this gentleman, who was indeed, a gentle man.
This singer who was a song in himself;
This composer who was the epitome of composure…

We will look at one another and wonder that he walked among us,
That he spoke bent his lengthy frame and engaged our children
That he took the time to tell our stories in songs that will outlive us all.
Long live the legend.
Long live Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mutukudzi.

Tsitsi Mutendi – Entrepreneur and Educationalist

Once in every generation a child is born. A child that no one knows at birth. A child whose footprints then echoes all across the world. A child that becomes a giant. A giant amongst men. For Zimbabwe that giant was Oliver Mtukudzi. Affectionately known simply as Tuku, his music transcended generations. His words and their melody walked us through our very existence. He taught, he nurtured, he comforted, mourned, brought joy and most importantly, inspired. On the 23rd of January, the child that once cried on the moment of his birth spoke no more, and instead left a world in tears because he was no longer in it.

I met Samanyanga Oliver Tuku Mtukudzi numerous times but most memorable was when he allowed us to interview him for the cover of Jewel magazine. He made time to help build many dreams, mine amongst them. The various tributes that have been outpoured by those who met him or experienced him are a tribute to the greatness of the man that he was. His voice will echo throughout time. And his legacy will be cherished. My heart goes out to his family. Go well Samanyanga. Rest In Power.

Langa Sibanda Lloyd – Former model and founder of Langa Cosmetics

I find it very hard to write anything meaningful for a giant, if a human being. I feel like words cannot match the legend that was loved by so many in our beloved country and beyond. Anyway, here is my 2 cents:

Rest in peace true son of the soil! Thank you for teaching all of us the most valuable lesson – humility. We met back in 1997 and I never forgot the moment. You were so humble and charismatic, and left a mark in my life. A genius of music who campaigned on issues that affected our society; you touched and moved so many lives. Your voice and that “cough” shall always be. All I can say is ‘Todii? What shall we do? Senzenjani?’
Thank you for the music Tuku…and fare thee well.

Itayi ‘Iyati’ Takayendesa – Radio personality at StarFM

I started sneaking into Tuku’s shows as an under-aged teenager around 1996, he was all the rage and I just had to be a part of the huge wave he was causing across the country. I remember in high school, the social trend was about all things foreign being superior – names, music, food – but around that time, for me, Tuku just rose to dispel all of that! His music & life model was a renaissance of some sort, to show how authentic Zimbabwean art & expression was something to be proud of.

Fast forward to Star FM where I was co-presenting The Breeze with Tariro a.k.a Mai Judah, Tuku was one of the biggest & most humbling endorsers of our show! He’d say “vasikana munonyatsoseka zvisinakonozamukati” pointing to that authenticity of self. This meant everything to me, not only because one of Zim entertainment icons was listening but also because the most criticism we got on the show was about our laughing. Look at Tuku, how the ‘cough’ became a trademark. From him I learnt the value of being true to self!

Nicola ‘Nikki’ Ndoro– Radio personality at StarFM

What a terrible way to start 2019. We will anyways remember Tuku for his constructive lyrics and how he was a remarkable Ambassador of Africa and Zimbabwe. A true son of this beautiful land, humble, loving and dynamic. Go well Samanyanga. Zvinodzimba.

Faith Katsaura Mawande – Entrepreneur

An Icon has fallen!

For as long as i can remember Oliver Mtukudzi has been a part of my life. Songs featuring his melodic voice and that famous strumming of his guitar punctuated so many milestones in my life. From birthdays, graduations, baby showers and weddings, there was always a Tuku song playing in the background to help us celebrate with friends and family.

I feel his depature in the depth of my spirit and i know his passing has rocked not only the nation but the world at large. So many of us had come to love and appreciate his sound.

A true national hero, his work in the community and his never ending efforts to uplift and support other musicians will be remembered and celebrated by all.

Rest in Power Samanyanga. Thank you for flying the Zimbabwe flag high and for being a part of our lives.

Masa Caroleen – Artist

Dr Oliver Mutukudzi was an inspirational human being, whose obedience to his calling made him the man we all know. Aren’t we all grateful he did not stop nor cower in fear but knew the gift in him had to be heard? Whether young or old, we all have a Tuku song that we like. So everyone feels they’ve lost an uncle, Sekuru, baba or a brother. I had the pleasure of opening for him and TariroNeGitare in December 2013. When I met him backstage, he told me “Mwanangu that was good.” I remember saying thank you and telling him it was only 4 chords, he said those 4 chords can change a nation as long you put your heart in it. This is only one story, there a thousands more of local artists who were always encouraged by him, bands that he mentored , young musicians that he inspired, diasporans he gave a piece of home to, foreigners to whom he showed the heart of Zimbabwe.We were really blessed and honored to have him and to have known him. We can only hope to have a portion of his astuteness in fulfilling his purpose so we can fulfill our own. Maita Nzou.

Rumbi Moyo – Station manager at PowerFM

I first experienced Tuku’s music as a little girl in the late 1980’s. I loved his voice, especially the famous cough. Later on, I became a radio presenter for Power FM and my playlists would be filled with Tuku’s music. My family and I never missed his concerts; we would remove our shoes and dance to every song. The first time I actually met Dr Mtukudzi was in Atlanta, Georgia USA in 2005. I had moved to Atlanta to persue my studies the previous year and Tuku was on tour for the album ‘Nhava.’ I walked up to him and introduced myself. That moment was a dream come true. Here was the senior super star in a foreign land and I was excited.
Years later, I came back home and went back to working for Power FM and our paths crossed again. We developed a father – daughter relationship . We had may interviews, so many memories shared over meals and music. The last time I saw him was after his birthday in September 2018, we had lunch and watched the new ‘Neria’ video which featured Lady Smith Black mambazo. I recall his last words to me were, “Rumbie hanzi namaivako Daisy huyauzotiona”.

The day of his passing, I called his number to tell him I would be visiting on Saturday. He didn’t pick up . Little did I know , I would never get a chance to speak to him.
My heart is broken. Nzou was simple, humble and always available. He imparted wisdom not just through music but in how he lived. Nzou gave so many, including myself, the blueprint to success yet remaining authentic. I for one will forever practice what he taught me. My heart goes out to his best friend and wife Daisy and his whole family. Fambai zvakana Nzou.

Captain Awesome (born Tinashe Tangwanda) – Radio personality at ZiFM

One of the things I’ll remember about Tuku is his humility as an individual. The guidance that he gave to the current stock of artists, both locally and beyond our borders is something that will go a long way in continuing his legacy. We are thankful that he was there to influence an entire generation of artists on how to conduct themselves professionally, socially and personally; what it means to be the kind of man he was and represented; and how to carry that responsibility with dignity and grace.

Christine “Mhamha Kiri” Gumunyu – Coporate Social Responsibility Administrator

The events of the last 2 weeks have been nothing short of spine-tingling. The almost tangible lessons we have seen with our own eyes have left me beyond humbled. The first lesson you have imparted in us is humility. Unless proven otherwise, it would appear every single Zimbabwean at one state of their lives had a photo taken with you. To achieve this, it required your humility, patience and acknowledgment that this was something important to your fans. The dhuku for Tuku tribute was also evidence of your humility.
Your music was the country’s soundtrack for over 38 years; it was the sun in our darkest moments. You kept people alive and gave them hope, I included, and I am honoured that I was alive to witness such a historical occasion. Lest we forget your physical presence in life, your gentle nature, your charisma, I could go on and on…

We needed this moment as a nation to remember Ubuntu and love, only you could have achieved this. You were the quintessential unifier and even from the heavens, you still are. You will be sorely and truly missed but your legacy will live on.

Thank you Samanyanga. Rest in Power 💜

Chamvari (born Rumbidzayi Mugwira) – Radio personality at PowerFM

My earliest memory of Dr. Tuku is from watching the movie ‘Neria’ where he played Uncle Jethro. In the movie, he was the cool guy who sang a song that became an international hit. He was in my opinion, still the cool guy when I first met him. I got to attend my first Tuku show in 2009. Seeing him perform was always a great experience as he always gave his all on stage. Even when rumors of his health were going around, he never let it show. He was always full of energy and excitement. I finally got to interact with him when I joined Power Fm. One of my most memorable Tuku moments was when we met in the corridor at ZBC in 2017. He smiled and said “mwanangu. Masvikataakubuda. Walter (his manager), nditorewo photo ne celebrity iri?” I replied, “no way..handizi celeb ini.” To which he said “Kohanti ndimi munoitakuti isu tirire paradio, sakandimi ma celebrity edu anopusha basaredu.”
Tuku was a humble man. Even with his superstar status he was always ‘cool’. He gave me a couple of words of encouragement before he left. He knew how to appeal to the younger generations. He will be missed.. Because Tuku did not just exist in this lifetime, he came and LIVED, and he left us a lot of great music to remember him by. Thank you for sharing your life and talent with us Nzou ❤. We miss you already.

Butterphly (born Tariro Mharapara) – Radio personality at PowerFM

Mtukudzi was one of a kind
How did such a kind, big heart fit in his chest?
The best, modest, blessed
Another like him, we will never find
His husky voice will echo in our souls forever
Never to be forgotten
We’ll meet again someday
Till then, sing with the angels
Finally a place you belong,
So long Tuku
May your soul in heaven where you belong, in peace forever rest

Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa – Radio and TV talk show host

My definition of the late Dr Oliver Mutukudzi is: ZIMBABWEAN HERO and GLOBAL LEGEND.

Our nation’s grief can be felt in the air. Our hearts are beating to his music and we are all torn between tears and smiles. His death has come at an unfortunate time, when Zimbabwe has been on its knees, being shredded apart by political decisions affecting our well-being. Tuku’s death is truly a Moment of Silence for us. He has hushed the noise for just a while. That’s just how powerful he is. It’s almost as if there’s nothing worth discussing, sharing or posting, except the great Samanyanga!

I interviewed Tuku in 2014 about the Zimbabwean Music Industry. I asked him to sing ‘Into Yami’ at my wedding and he said yes! I guess I took too long💔. One day when my “forever” is waiting at the end of the aisle, I shall play it, “Zvesezvangu! Mudiwa ndezvako!”🎶🎼 THERE IS NO ONE LIKE HIM. Tino dada navosevanaveZimbabwe. Only a legend can have a whole genre “Tuku Music” called after him. RIP SAMANYANGA.
We celebrate you! Go well- but the music stays right here with us. Asante.
#Tuku #OliverMutukudzi #ZimbabweanHero #GlobalLegend

Plaxedes Wenyika – Artist

Oliver Mtukudzi was the real deal, a true artist, an artist’s artist. My first encounter with him was memorable, not because of his superstar status but because of his beautiful soul. His story of struggle and triumph in his music journey inspires me still. His life story which he shared freely in interviews was one of persistence in the face of adversity and hardships. His was a modern day struggling artist’s fairytale. He showed us our art is good enough for the world stage. Proudly Zimbabwean in all he did. We were blessed to live in same time-line with him.

Candice Mwakalyelye – Radio personality

I first met you many years ago in a foreign land. You had come for an interview at the station I worked for. I was star struck but decided to take a chance and say hello, you smiled back and greeted me so pleasantly. You were happy to see a Shona speaking girl in the least expected place and took a few minutes to chat with me, I was humbled. There were no airs or graces, and anyone who didn’t know you might have thought you were just another guest. A few years later I moved back home and found myself at Zifm stereo. You came for an interview and saw me, you laughed and said, “Mwanaanguwaakuno!?” You told me you were happy to see me back home because as far as you were concerned, Zimbabwean talent should first be enjoyed at home. I’ve had the pleasure of calling you ‘baba’ for many years, speaking to you and working with you, and not once do I remember an unpleasant encounter. I remember one poorly planned event we attended together, I was tempted to leave several times but you remained calm and composed. You went on stage as if there were no mishaps that had ever occurred! I’ve learnt so much from you over the years, sometimes just from watching you interact with other people. Your passing has hit an already ailing industry hard, and we may never fill the void you’ve left. Your memory will forever be with me and Zimbabwe through the lessons learnt and your magical music. Thank you for your humility, your humor, your wisdom and friendship.
Most of all, thank you for the music. RIP Dr. Oliver Mtukudzi – Nzou, Samanyanga… Munguakulazemahalapemapeponi Mfalmewetu God rest your soul our King

Liz Dziva – Public Relations Manager at Multichoice

The words he spoke were right, he had seen it all.
We all loved to listen at what he had to say
His knowledge was unsurpassed.
I learnt patience, humility, and how to handle rejection and failure.
I also learnt about taking risk, and increasing my knowledge. The list is endless.

Tuku was the go to person for solid advice, a calabash of wisdom
He was passionate about making dreams a reality, especially for the underprivileged.

I will never forget the joy he brought to the heart of a cancer patient, the late Tapiwa Sachiti , when he took time off from his busy schedule to spend the day with her at his home. ‘The day I met Tuku was definitely one of the best days of my life ‘ she was later to write in her diary before she passed away.
It is true that you become a wise person by emulating one.
Mweyawa Dr Oliver Mtukudzi ngauzorore murugare netsitsi dzaMwari

Karen Paida – Radio personality and TV host

I don’t think I can even state the first day I heard Dr Oliver Mtukudzi’s music. It is music that was played on all radio stations and at all family events. I had an uncle who had all his albums and listened to him every time in his car. His music spoke volumes to me as a child and still does to this day and it will do so even for my children. His words were like a bible proverb, very few but comforting. I only met him once but it felt like I had known him for years because his music grew with me.

Dr Oliver Mtukudzi emphasized originality above all else which is a valuable but hard to find attribute in the media industry. When people question whether anyone will fill his shoes, my reply is always ‘No, there can only be one Dr Oliver Mtukudzi.’ We will always cherish his contribution to our lives and those of further generations.

Rest in peace Samanyanga, we will miss you. Thankfully we have your music to keep us going. #RIPTUKU

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Get our...
Free Monthly Digital Edition
Be the first to get our latest Digital Magazine Issue and exclusive content sent straight to your inbox.
No Thanks!