BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
THE late music icon and national hero Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi continues to be honoured, with the United States and Canadian volunteer surgical team under the banner Operation of Hope dedicating its upcoming mission to him.
The Operation of Hope, which has since 2006 performed more than 5 000 free cleft surgeries for children and adults in Zimbabwe, is planning its 26th surgical mission to Zimbabwe.
“As the all-volunteer US and Canadian surgical team, Operation of Hope, we dedicate our upcoming cleft surgical mission in Zimbabwe in honour of Oliver Mtukudzi, as we target 80 free facial reconstructive surgeries in May 2019,” the Operation of Hope president, Jennifer Mora Trubenbach, said.
“Our surgical team has had many fond memories over the years of Oliver Mtukudzi and his band, and throughout the years, Oliver’s daughter Selmor and her husband, Tendai Manatsa have supported the team on screening day, serenading patients with their beautiful music.”
Trubenbach said 80 children and adults were targeted for a free facial reconstructive surgery at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo on May 4 and at Harare Central Hospital on May 19.
Meanwhile, Mtukudzi was on Friday also honoured at the Diplomat of the Year Awards held at a local hotel, alongside Africa Albida Tourism chief executive Ross Kennedy for their outstanding contribution to fostering relations with foreign nations.
The annual awards, established in 2012, celebrate the contribution of diplomats in Zimbabwe to the development of the country and its people.
The award posthumously conferred to Tuku (collected by daughter Selmor) and Kennedy is given to an organisation or individual who has contributed immensely to the relationship between Zimbabwe and other nations, and whose initiatives would have impacted positively on the lives of ordinary people.
Kennedy said he was humbled to have been honoured alongside Tuku at this year’s awards.
“I am very humbled to be mentioned in the same breath as Tuku. This award represents what we, at Africa Albida Tourism, do. It has always been about country first, and the destination of Victoria Falls second, and we are very honoured to have been recognised,” he said.
Africa Albida Tourism operates a portfolio of properties in Victoria Falls, the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Safari Club, Victoria Falls Safari Suites, Lokuthula Lodges and The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show, as well as Ngoma Safari Lodge in Chobe, Botswana.