ZIMBABWE and international music legend Oliver Mtukudzi, who turns 60 on Saturday is alive because of God’s will, he has said.
He believes he has lived beyond most of his peers because God has a purpose that he still has to fulfill.In his birthday message released yesterday by Tuku Music, the musician said he was convinced that his son Sam, who died at the age of 21, had fulfilled God’s purpose.
“Sixty years are a blessing because some of my peers were not so lucky. I am alive because I think God still has a purpose for me and whatever that purpose is I don’t know,” said Tuku.
“Once our individual purposes are fulfilled we meet the fullness of our time. And I don’t know what I have to fulfill because one will never know that.
“When my son Sam died (March 2010) I want to believe that he had achieved what God had set out for him, young as he was.”
The musician said he will thank God for the blessing of a long life through continuing to serve the Lord and striving to be a better person before Him.
Although he did not know outstanding purposes that God set for him, he would continue singing because music has its purpose in people’s lives.
“The purpose of music is to give life and hope to people. Music is a powerful prayer for me to touch the hearts of people
“When my mother said my first cry at birth was my best-ever composition, it gave me the feeling that God created me to be an artist. I will continue singing.”
He thanked his fans for inspiring him to keep focused and strong.
“At 60, I still can do the things that I did when I was 40. Age is defined in time and wisdom . . . wisdom which must be shared among people and time which we don’t have. My fans keep me fit, focused and inspired because I have a purpose for them.”
The musician shed some light on his private life revealing that his favourite meal is sadza and chicken feet. He credited his wife for being a source of strength.
“I walk for an hour with my wife Daisy . . . sometimes for an hour and half daily. She is a huge source of strength and a pillar in my life and work. She makes me happy.”
Tuku said he would do his best to assist the disadvantaged and urged leaders to follow suit.
“It was always my dream as a young boy to serve in the humanitarian field of life and will endeavour to do even more philanthropic work by offering my assistance and service to the disadvantaged among us.
“World leaders should stop wasting time fighting for personal enrichment and power and give more attention to people and their needs, not certain classes, but all people. If we do that we can make the world a better place.”
He saluted fellow artists Thomas Mapfumo, Zexie Manatsa, Tineyi Chikupo, Safirio Madzikatire and others who started before him for setting the pace for him and other artists that were inspired by their works.
Mtukudzi began performing in 1977 when he joined the Wagon Wheels, a band that also featured Thomas Mapfumo. Their single, “Dzandimomotera”, went gold and Tuku’s first album followed, which was also a major success. Mtukudzi is also a contributor to Mahube, Southern Africa’s “supergroup”.
With his husky voice, he has become the most recognized voice to emerge from Zimbabwe and onto the international scene and he has earned a devoted following across Africa and beyond. A member of Zimbabwe’s KoreKore tribe, Nzou Samanyanga as his totem, he sings in the nation’s dominant Shona language along with Ndebele and English. He also incorporates elements of different musical traditions, giving his music a distinctive style, known to fans as “Tuku Music”. Mtukudzi has had a number of tours around the world. He has been on several tours in the UK, US and Canada to perform for large audiences.
Unlike Mapfumo, Mtukudzi has refrained from directly criticizing the government of President Robert Mugabe. However, some of his most emotive hits prodded the aging authoritarian ruler, including “Ndakuvara,” which bemoans the political violence engineered by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and “Wasakara (You Are Getting Old),” which most Zimbabweans took as a direct plea for Mugabe to retire.
He is the father of five children and has two grandchildren.Two of his children are also musicians. His son Sam Mtukudzi, a successful musician in his own right, died in a car accident in March 2010. Mtukudzi also has four sisters and one brother, who died.