The Sunday Mail
INTERNATIONAL music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi has singled out corruption as the biggest impediment to development and prosperity in Zimbabwe.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Mail Society last week at his multi-million dollar headquarters, Pakare Paye Arts Centre in Norton, Tuku said Zimbabweans were a hard-working people who had for years been held back by corrupt individuals.
He said the Zimbabwe Defence Forces’ Operation Restore Legacy last month — which saw Cde Robert Mugabe step down, being replaced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa — promised to to open a new, better chapter for the nation.
Tuku seldom wades into politics, despite several of his songs being given political connotations by fans, preferring instead to let his music do the talking.
But in a rare and candid political message, Tuku last week wore his heart on a sleeve.
“Corruption has destroyed our country, our economy. Let us shun corruption. Zimbabweans are a hard-working people but we have nothing to show for it because of corrupt people in our midst who refuse to sweat for things.
“We need to work on that. Let us not blame this or that, no. We are in the situation we are in as a country because of corruption and once we have dealt with that, this country will surely prosper,” said Mtukudzi.
The veteran singer said the dramatic and peaceful political changes of the past few weeks presented opportunities for Zimbabwe.
“We have been given an opportunity to fix things; kana tichifa, tife tasiya zvinhu zvashanduka (if we are to die, do so after positive change). Let us leave a legacy yatinopembedzwa nemhuri dzedu isu tisisipo (that our families will be proud of after we are gone).”
Commenting on the peaceful handover of power and non-violent demonstrations that took place on the streets of Harare, Mtukudzi said; “Zimbabwe, as a nation, we are blessed, so much that we are being used as an example in the whole world. Hatina kupusa (we are not stupid).
“We should remain like this so that we can show the whole world that we are calculative, sharp and more civilised that most people think. Let us continue to show unity, to show that we are all Zimbabweans.”
‘Hany’ga — Concern’ on iTunes
The superstar finished recording his 66th album in June and will exclusively release it on iTunes.
This writer had the opportunity to listen to the freshly baked soothing and poignant music characterised, as usual, by powerful lyrics.
From the title of the album, “Hany’ga — Concern”, Tuku shows that he is indeed concerned about the family unit, society, environment, children and humanity’s spiritual well-being.
Some of the songs have a global reach while others are much closer to him.
Tuku is known for his biting socio-political commentary and in this album he does not disappoint. This is vintage Tuku.
The album opens with “Matope”, which will be released as a single on iTunes anytime from now.
In the song, Tuku bemoans littering and its effects to the environment plus the diseases that are now common in places where young people used to play in the old days with no such harm befalling them.
Another track, “Haasati Aziva”, speaks against child marriages and its video is already being played on ZBC-TV. The simple but high quality video is eye-catching with a well-written script and very good actors.
And as if commenting on Operation Restore Legacy, Tuku urges people — regardless of their differences — to live together in harmony and shun violence and self-importance in “Bopoto”.
The song is driven by a thumping bass guitar, which has become a signature of Tuku’s recent albums.
As is his custom, the superstar threw in a party song, “Shiringinya”, which is easy on the ear and gets the limbs moving.
Being the word smith he is, Tuku sings about mangwingwindo and dzvamutsvamu, Shona words that most listeners could find hard to decipher.
He explains: “I’m just urging people to dance whichever way they like to our traditional music, of course. Mangwingwindo is a mixture of traditional music — mbira, hosho, ngoma etcetera while dzvamutsvamu is a type of dance.”
“Hany’ga — Concern” will only be on shop shelves in January 2018, as the artiste’s management tries to counter piracy.
Said Tuku: “We are releasing the single ‘Matope’ first on iTunes together with teasers of all the other songs. So people can buy the single and sample the other tracks as they await the actual release where they will be able to then buy the songs.”
Tuku said the official launch would likely be at Pakare Paye.
“We will host a media and stakeholders unveiling here before year-end and then launch the album in January. When we do the launch the CDs will be available for purchase here as has been the trend all along.”
Tuku proves that he is more than just an entertainer in the 10-track effort as he preaches the Word of God in “Dehenya”, “Mahara” and Inyasha”. Mtukudzi says he is simply “preaching common sense”.
“The Bible is book of common sense, it is not complicated,” he said.
His commitment to mankind’s social condition continues in the rest of the album with “Wanza Sorry”, “Inombotanga Sei?” and “Uchatinhei?”
Xmas treat for rural folk
With the artiste having finished recording his 66th album, in a year that he turned 65-years-old and added what he ranks as one of his biggest awards to his chockfull cabinet, The Africa Legend Award, the singer is planning a mega bash in his home province of Mashonaland Central.
Tuku’s rural home is 123km from Harare along the Bindura-Mt Darwin Highway, just before Madziva.
He has invited several upcoming bands from that province to showcase their talent on the day. With them will be established stars Jah Prayzah, Suluman Chimbetu, Tocky Vibes and Mokoomba, among many others —depending on availability on the day.
“Tinenge tiriko Kwamutumba, Pakasimbwi musiwa 24 December tichifadza hama neshamwari pachigochewa nekumwa,” said Mtukudzi.