For master of song, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, last year was one of mixed fortunes, marred by the tragic loss of his son and heir-apparent to the Tuku Music throne, Sam, who died in a car crash alongside his friend and sound engineer, Owen Chimare, on March 15.
In his reflections of the past year, Tuku said: “. . . adversity is known to fight for a place in the scheme of things,” adding that he had so many plans that involved Sam, whose death remains a sore spot in his heart.
“The world collapsed around me, life coming to a complete standstill. Time froze. I froze too,” Tuku said.
He added that his son’s death meant that he had to shelve many plans, including the traditional Tuku birthday bashes which were held annually in September.
“There was nothing for me to celebrate the traditional birthday bashes in recognition of my birthday in September in the same year of my son’s departure,” said Tuku in his message for 2011, adding that he had to cancel the bashes that would have seen him performing in Harare, Chitungwiza and Norton.
“Albeit untold difficulty I tried picking myself up to continue my son’s legacy and my own legacy too,” he said.
“I miss my son. I will continue his legacy. But to unlock myself from the loss is not possible.”
During the past year, in which Tuku said he “conquered certain hurdles and scored milestones too along the way in a modest but very gratifying way,” there were two major projects on the cards, Perekedza Mwana and Nzou Nemhuru, both of which Tuku said were Sam’s ideas.
“His desire was that I accompany him to the old and far-flung venues where I performed in the formative years of my career,” Tuku said.
The places included Mushandirapamwe Hotel in Highfield, Chivhu, Mupandawana in Gutu and Mabvuku in Harare, among others.
“And so we happily went on the road together with Sam, performing starting with Mushandirapamwe which sold out and brought back so many memories for me,” Tuku recalled.
Nzou neMhuru was a theatrical musical production shot on location and simply celebrated the blessing and gift of the family, and Tuku and Sam performed at 7 Arts Theatre in Harare in February together with a cast of at least 20 artists.
Tuku Music released Sam’s second album Cheziya posthumously in September, and the album was launched at a commemorative show dubbed “Wednesday to Remember Sam”.
The highlight of the year, however, was the release at Pakare Paye Arts Centre, of Tuku Music’s fourth film, Sarawoga, which is showing on local television.
“We continued our arts development programmes to mentor individual talent across the diversity of the arts,” Tuku said.
The construction of the second phase of Pakare Paye Arts Centre, Tuku said, is also continuing.
In 2010, Sheer Sound of South Africa acknowledged Tuku’s 600 000 record sales units in that country in the last 10 years, sealing his place as the biggest selling African artist, excluding South Africans, in the last decade.