Following Oliver Mtukudzi’s death last Wednesday, social media users have turned their attention to infamous funeral artist Lebani Sirenje aka Rasta, calling for him to not paint the renowned jazz musician.
The 66-year-old Zimbabwean musician died after battling a long illness.
Over the past few months, Rasta has found himself on the trends list for missing the mark when it came to painting fallen stars.
Despite the criticism, Rasta told TshisaLIVE that as a fellow Zimbabwean and someone who has been inspired by Mtukudzi’s music, he feels compelled to show his respects by painting the renowned star.
“Of course, my biggest problem is transport, but I will definitely do something for Oliver. Maybe at the memorial service I will be able to complete the drawing and hand over, but I definitely have to do this one,” he said.
Rasta said it would be a great injustice for him to not paint Mtukudzi, because of the impact his music had on him.
“I’ve been listening to Oliver’s music since my primary days and when times were hard, his music kept us going. I always loved that he remained a true African and a true Zimbabwean no matter how famous he got. He sang his Shona songs proudly and made his people proud. That [Senzeni] (Todii) song is my all-time favourite.” Rasta said.
Rasta, who is no stranger to criticism said he’s learnt to let the “hate” slide because people judge his incomplete work instead of the finished product.
“I have been drawing for a long time, since my high school days and it’s my passion something that I live for. What people don’t understand is that painting is a process and it’s not a fast process. There’s a lot of steps that must be taken from the first sketch to the final product. The problem now is that the minute I sit down, someone takes a picture of my incomplete work and says to Twitter, ‘Look at Rasta’s painting!’, but at that stage, the picture is not done, so it doesn’t look great because it isn’t done. But Twitter doesn’t care, they go ahead and judge anyway,” Rasta said.