The Sunday Mail
THE late Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi composed songs that reflected people’s experiences. His compositions were relevant to many people from diverse backgrounds, earning him a lot of respect and admiration both at home and abroad.
This year marks four years since the legendary musician passed away.
Below are excerpts from some of his neighbours in Norton:
Tuku was a man of the people. I got to know him on a personal level in 2014, when I came to live in the neighbourhood. On some days, he would just go outside his gate, greeting and chatting with the locals. He was a good listener, with a deep sense of empathy.
Growing up in the neighbourhood, Tuku is one of the icons we looked up to for inspiration. Since the early 2000s, I made sure I attended his shows at Pakare Paye. His music resonates a lot with my life and I have more than 50 of his songs in my archives. I always feel sad every time I go to Pakare Paye. Things have changed and you can feel Tuku’s absence. He was a sociable person, who listened when the neighbours spoke.
I feel blessed to have had time to mingle with an international star. It is a privilege that many would wish for, yet here I had him right next door. Tuku was humble. He never let his status get in the way. When my grandparents died, he attended the funerals. Daisy also socialises with my mother. Contrary to what some people may think of them, the couple was just down to earth. When Sam was alive, you would hear them (Tuku and Sam) singing, rehearsing. However, the silence that engulfed the household after Sam’s death spoke volumes. Everyone was mentally affected.
I was the first one to wed at Pakare Paye back in 2008, and I felt true love and humanity from Tuku. The couple was welcoming; they never made you feel lesser than them in any way. Samanyanga was sociable, and every time he stepped out of his gate, he would greet people and even chat with some. He also took part in various community and church-related programmes.
I grew up here and always saw Tuku often along Mtukudzi Way as he was either leaving or coming back home. He always greeted people or even waved as he passed by. I was fortunate enough to attend the same church with him. He never missed a service whenever he was around and he was active in church. Even now, Daisy never misses a church service. He also contributed a lot towards church projects. He was also a good listener, who paid attention to everyone he talked to regardless of whether he was going to be able to solve your problems or not.
I had the privilege of chatting with him one day while he was sitting by his gate. I was surprised. He was a down-to-earth man, who treated everyone with respect. I was baffled when I chatted with him. Speculation that the Mtukudzi family was not accommodating was rife.
The few minutes we talked gave me a different perspective about him. Tuku was a man of the people. He embraced hunhu/ubuntu.