Mtukudzi arrives from SA to mourn son’s tragic death

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Tragedy has struck Zimbabwe music icon Oliver Mtukudzi whose son, Sam, died in a road accident early Monday morning ( March 15 2010).

Sam Mtukudzi (21) and his sound engineer Owen Chimhare (24) died on the spot after the vehicle they were travelling in from the city centre veered off the road and plunged into a bridge along the Harare Bulawayo road at around 01.00 am.

The fatal accident happened at some small bridge near Pamuzinda Highway Escape about 20 km west of Harare as young Mtukudzi was returning home in Norton from the airport, where he had meant to pick up his father.

However, Mtukudzi who was on private business in South Africa, failed to catch the flight on Sunday night and only returned to Harare Monday.

National Traffic Police spokesperson Inspector Tigere Chigome said that no other vehicle was involved in the accident.

“We do not have definite conclusions yet but initial investigations show that either the car was speeding or the driver dozed off and lost control of the car. Two people who were the only passengers in the car died on the spot,” Inspector Chigome said.

Mtukudzi told mourners at his Norton home when he arrived on Monday that he had last spoken to his son at 22:00hrs (Sunday) when he called him from the airport inquiring about his flight.

“When I did not arrive on the flight that he was expecting me to be on he called from the airport and actually joked with me saying ‘Asi marasika here mudhara. Mazokwira bhazi here?’ (Are you lost old man. Have you travelled by bus?)

“Those were the last words we shared with Sam before I received this devastating news,” said Tuku who broke down in tears several times as he tried to come to terms with this tragic personal loss.

Sam is ‘Tuku’ s son from his second marriage to Daisy. He was his mother’s only child.

Scores of musicians and arts personalities thronged the Mtukudzi home in Norton to mourn the sudden death of Zimbabwe’s most promising young musician. Information Minister Webster Shamu was among the mourners.

‘Tuku’ and his son Sam were scheduled to travel to Europe on a big tour that was set to see the Mtukudzi duo sharing the stage with Zimbabwe’s music stars like Alick Macheso and others.

The London shows were scheduled to start on April 1st when Sam was going to turn 22.

‘Tuku’ has recently been preparing to handover the Mtukudzi legend to his son Sam as part of his retirement plans. He has also recently come out open about his affliction with diabetes.

On February 26 ‘Tuku’ took Sam on the launch of a countrywide tour meant to bring alive the Tuku memoirs from his early music days in the 1970s. The project was meant to familiarize Sam with the big world of music and he named it ‘Nzou nemhuru mudanga’.

He had also launched another programme to introduce Sam to his legion of fans around the country and he had aptly named the project ‘Perekedza mwana’ (Accompanying the child).

On March 5 ‘Tuku’ and Sam were together at Chinhoyi University where the elder Mtukudzi delivered a public lecture and a week later the two held a joint show organized by Econet Wireless in the capital.

Born on April 1st 1988, Sam began to show his natural music talent at a tender age of 4 when he started strumming away on his father’s guitar. His father bought him his first guitar when he was 10 after having watched him perform at a school concert when the family was still based in the Midlands mining town of Kwekwe.

When the Mtukudzi family relocated to Harare, Sam went to Prince Edward High School in the capital where he pursued his music career more seriously. He learnt to play and mastered various music instruments such as the saxophone, drums, mbira and marimba but his guitar skills were most outstanding.

Oliver who is Zimbabwe’s undisputed music legend built a huge music and arts centre called Pakare Paye in Norton, preparing a heritage for his son.

Sam released his first album, RumeRimwe in 2007 and had just finished work on his second album which he had just been to mixing in South Africa last week and was due to release during the London tour next month.