The Sunday Mail
THE Norton community, among them businesses based in the town, the residents association, the church and individuals, last weekend gathered at Pakare Paye Arts Centre to celebrate Dr Oliver Mtukudzi’s achievements.
Led by Norton Member of Parliament Honourable Temba Mliswa, the black-tie dinner event was in celebration of Dr Mtukudzi’s recent recognition by Forbes Magazine as one of 10 bankable musicians in Africa.
The banquet was attended by several high profile guests including the US ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry K. Thomas Jr and his wife, industrialist Callisto Jokonya, businesspersons and artistes.
Speaking at the event, Mliswa said Mtukudzi’s recognition by Forbes Africa was enormous yet people seemed not to realise that.
“I think that recognition by Forbes Africa is an indication of Mtukudzi’s great achievements.
I felt that everyone was quiet about it but as a member of parliament for Norton where he (Mtukudzi) stays, where his business is and where his studio is – I felt I had to do something,” said Mliswa.
Mliswa said it was his team and that from Dr Mtukudzi’s Pakare Paye Arts Centre that coordinated to put together the event.
“I approached Mtukudzi and he was quite amazed, and he said he was excited about me doing the event. He gave me the go-ahead.
I then put together a team from my office and his staff here at Pakare Paye to coordinate and find friends and companies willing to partner us in this.
“My whole thrust was to get the people of Norton to recognise who Mtukudzi is. Before you are recognised anywhere else; do your people know who you are? The response was overwhelming, it was easy for me to market him because he is a brand,” said Mliswa.
The Norton MP said they had to put a cap on the number of participating organisations as the response was overwhelming.
Companies and organisations that took part in the event include AB Communications, Norton Bricks Company, Norton Residency Association, Norton Development Association, Telone, Bellevue Abattoir, Zimplats, Dandy Zimbabwe, Total Service Station and even schools from Norton.
Said Mliswa: “Even war veterans participated using their own money to recognise this hero.
Individuals, some of whom did not attend tonight simply bought tickets and asked us to bring the people of Norton here. Some companies from Harare bought tables and asked us to give them to the people of Norton, I’m talking four or five tables that were donated.”
Mliswa said he would want to recognise other Norton luminaries like footballer Knowledge Musona, and music group Mbira DzeNharira among others, the same way they had recognised Dr Mtukudzi.
Guest of Honour, past president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Callisto Jokonya, thanked Honourable Mliswa for mobilising companies and the people of Norton in honour of one of their illustrious sons. Addressing Mtukudzi directly, Jokonya said: “I have been your fan since the ’70s. I came to Norton about 16 years ago and found you here. I came here at Pakare Paye for your 60th birthday.
I wondered what type of a musician you are. When some of us were thinking Norton is not a place where one can put a business, you put up this structure. Some of us stand here a bit embarrassed because you have developed Norton. You want Norton to be a better place,” said Jokonya.He added: “I want to say to Dr Mtukudzi we thank you, and we salute you for what you do for this community, for artistes, for Zimbabwe, for Africa and for the whole world. And to Mai Mtukudzi, your husband could not have done this without you. Thank you for your vision.”
Mtukudzi said he was honoured for being recognised as a hard worker by Forbes Africa and for his Hunhu/Ubuntu by the community of Norton. His wife, Daisy, thanked Mliswa for the recognition and praised God “whose hand makes everything in our lives possible”.