Tuku’s music inspired many dreams: Jah Prayzah

Oliver Mtukudzi and Jah Prayzah

MULTI-AWARD-WINNING musician Jah Prayzah says music of the late national hero Oliver Mtukudzi has touched many people’s hearts and inspired countless local artistes to pursue musical careers.

Jah Prayzah saluted and paid tribute to Zimbabwe’s heroes and heroines on Heroes Day in an Instagram posy on Monday.

Mtukudzi, popularly known as Tuku, died in 2019 aged 66 and was declared a national hero, becoming the country’s first artiste to be acccorded such a high honour.

Born on September 22, 1952 in Highfield in the then Salisbury, Tuku was the first born in a family of seven.

At an early age, he knew he had to be responsible following his father’s death.

Although Tuku’s family accepted the honour, they however, decided to bury him at his Madziva rural home in Mashonaland Central province.

“On this special day, (Heroes Day), we reflect on the sacrifices made by those who fought for our freedom and independence. We honour their bravery, commitment and remember that our nation’s story was shaped by their unwavering dedication,” he noted.

“I also want to shine a spotlight on our modern-day heroes. Those who are continually pushing boundaries and paving the way for others. People like the late great Dr Oliver Mtukudzi, whose music not only touched our hearts, but inspired countless local artists to pursue their dreams.”

He continued: “The country’s heroes are not just those in the history books, they are in our communities, our schools, our fields of arts, sports and business. They strive daily to make Zimbabwe a better place for all of us, and their impact can be felt by us all.”

“Let us celebrate both, those who laid the foundation for our nation and also those who are building upon it. They too are our heroes, and they deserve our full respect and recognition. Here is to the heroes of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. May we continue to grow and thrive, united by our shared love for Zimbabwe.”

After Tuku’s death, Jah Prayzah recorded a tribute track, Gamuchirai in honour of the legendary musician. 

The song was socially loaded with an exceptionally traditional sound and relates to Tuku’s 

totem, Samanyanga, a relevant accolade.

After venturing into music in 1975 with a debut single, Stop After Orange, Tuku would, in later years, bestride the entertainment and business world, playing various roles as a singer-songwriter, actor, writer, film director and entrepreneur with interests extending to fashion.

He was a vocalist and lyricist par excellence who worked with both local and international artists across arts disciplines.

With 66 albums to his name, the Black Spirits frontman developed his own brand of Afro-jazz that became known as Tuku Music, a fine blend of jiti, katekwe, marimba, South African mbaqanga and afro-pop.

Apart from his music, the star was also the lead actor in the movies Jiti and Neria, released to high acclaim in the 1990s. 

He also wrote and directed the musical production, Was My Child.

In 1977 he joined the Wagon Wheels band and recorded the track Dzandimomotera which resonated with many ordinary people's plight at the time as it depicted the black man’s struggles under white minority rule.

Tuku established the Black Spirits in 1978 and released the album, Ndipeiwo Zano, which became an instant hit.

He later recorded many albums with the group, including Africa, which carried tracks like Zimbabwe and Madzongonyedze.

Although his music dominated in the 1980s, it was only in the 1990s that it took him beyond the country’s borders as he performed at various music festivals across the world.


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