Sam Mtukudzi’s last three weeks on earth saw him and his legendary father ‘Tuku’ Samanyanga doing joint performances where, like never before, they both showed a determination to ‘handover’ in the case of Tuku and ‘takeover’ in the case of his son Sam.
One is left wondering if this may have been Samson’s way of saying goodbye to his father.
To their fans, it probably simply meant that Tuku was doing the ordinary and expected – passing on his legacy to his son – but, as it turned out to be, destiny had knocked on their door and there was no refusing.
A month ago, Sam performed with his father at the “Nzou neMhuru muDanga” concert at the 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale.
The concept of the concert was a creation by Tuku, which was meant to celebrate his legacy in style.
The Mtukudzi duo produced an amazing theatrical act that left the audience mesmerized.
The stage was a human enclosure resembling a kraal and inside it were the big elephant ‘nzou’, Oliver with his full Black Spirits band and the young elephant (mhuru)Sam in a ‘nursing pen’ with his Ay posse.
What a memorable show that was! That is why it will be very difficult for the ‘Tuku’ fans to believe this tragedy.
It was indeed a full family show where, even the ‘mother elephant’ Daisy (Sam’s mother) came up on stage to play the role of ‘the woman we share’.
Daisy had only one child with Oliver – the late Samson. She was therefore indeed the woman that the two men, father and child, shared between them.
At the 7Arts show, Daisy played the life of a woman at the centre of two great superstars – one already made and another in the making.
The ‘Tuku’ duo soon afterwards launched another big project – the one that was meant to introduce young Sam to ‘Nzou’s legion of fans across the country.
Conceived by Sam himself, the Perekedza Mwana concept was about Oliver accompanying him to the old venues mainly in the ghettos where he played and made his name in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
The concept was launched at Mushandirapamwe Hotel in Highfields on February 29. The project which was still in its infancy, took them to the Extra Mile Leisure Spot in Harare last week, where more than 400 fans attended the show.
As fate would have it, this was the last and final show that Tuku was going to play together with his son.
Tuku told fans that ,if it were it not for his son who conceptualized Perekedza Mwana, he would probably not have returned to the ghetto venues because they had become too small for his multitudes of fans.
To fulfill the “Perekedza Mwana” concept, Tuku joined his son and proudly played their songs – a touching scenario which on recollection gives a picture of a father that was physically and spiritually passing on a legacy to his son.
Most of last week Sam was in South Africa with Owen Chimhare, his sound engineer with whom he died, mixing Sam’s second album.
Sam staged his last show at Sports Diner in Harare two days before he died. The show was extraordinarily powerful – perhaps a way of saying goodbye to his fans.
“We are all saddened. We are in shock and disbelief that a life so young can go so soon,” said Shepherd Mutamba, the Director of Information for Tuku Music Company on the Tuku music website.
Sam released his first album, “Rume Rimwe” in 2007 and was going to release his second album on his birthday, April 1.
In his short life span, he had performed regionally and internationally at various events including the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Winter Jazz Festival, Victoria Falls International Jazz Festival and, Johannesburg International Jazz Festival, among others.
“At only 22 Sam was the youngest board member of Pakare Paye Arts Centre but his contributions were invaluable as we embarked on the rigorous journey of developing the arts academy founded by Tuku in 2003,” said Mutamba.