Tuku, it was a great honour for me to share that small portion of your journey of life. Yours was a very long journey in those short 66 years that you lived. It was a journey full of ups and downs, sorrows and smiles. You took it on with the strength of the typical elephant, the Nzou Samanyanga that you are.
I will always remember the many stories that you would share, stories of some of the difficult times of your life. The pain of failing to secure a job as a young school leaver; the pain of losing your parents later in life; the pain of sleeping on a mat in some dingy halls after shows in the beginning of your musical career; the pain of being messed up by some unscrupulous promoters. You would share the stories without any bitterness. You fully appreciated that life cannot always be rosy. I will always remember the many stories that you would share about successes that came your way. The joy of receiving your first royalties cheque; the joy of getting support from so many of the various friends that you made; the joy of performing at the 1980 independence day celebrations; the joy of breaking into the international market. You would share the stories not to boast, but to celebrate those great blessings.
I will always remember the commitment that you had to your work. Performing for long hours to honour the joy of your fans. Driving from one part of the country to another in the early morning after a show, in order to make it to the next show. Criss-crossing the world raising the national flag. Spending long hours in the studio helping various fellow musicians with their work. And in all these situations I never heard you saying, “I am tired”. I will always remember your commitment to good quality work. Selecting the best words to carry the message in your song. Polishing your music to the highest possible level before releasing it. Spending many hours rehearsing in preparation for shows. Choosing the best attire to wear in public or on stage. And you would do that with joy and pride. I will always remember the depth of your language and your appreciation of our culture. It wasn’t only evident in your work, but in your general life as well.
Chirikure Chirikure is an author and renowned poet who worked with Oliver Mtukudzi on various projects.