Saturday, 9 March 2019

SELMOR : I CAN NEVER FILL MY FATHER'S SHOES


SELMOR Mtukudzi’s relationship with her late father, music superstar Dr Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, was and still remains one of the most speculated subjects in local showbiz.

Did Dr Tuku give a raw deal to his daughter? Did the legend die harbouring some form of resentment over Selmor or vice versa? Did they find each other along the way? Was a third force, Dr Tuku’s wife Daisy in this case, responsible for driving a wedge between father and daughter?

These and many other questions have kept the Tuku family debate alive before and after the legend’s death. One thing for certain though, is that at some point the two had an acrimonious relationship, characterised by accusations of neglect by the daughter and counter accusations of disrespect by the father. 

At the height of their disagreements in 2012, Selmor attacked Dr Tuku for not attending her album launch or even congratulating her when she won a music award. The predicament, she believed, was caused by her stepmother, Dr Tuku’s second wife, Daisy. Before the nasty outburst, Selmor and Dr Tuku had remained diplomatic about their frosty relationship in public.

The songstress would nonetheless privately confide in her fans and friends, heaping scorn on the late legend. And one of the chats was leaked to the media. It was to mark a turning point in the frigid father-daughter relationship.

Fissures between the two began to close. Dr Tuku gradually began to play a meaningful role in Selmor’s professional and private life. The songbird herself noticed progress and effort from her father’s end.

As a result, five years later, she issued a public apology to both her father and stepmother, Daisy, for embarrassing them in public through her actions. In the last two years, the once sour father-daughter relationship vastly improved. 

According to the singer, they started meeting more often in town, chatted on the phone and shared professional ideas unlike in the past. Speaking to The Sunday Mail Society last week, Selmor said time mended their once less than rosy past.

“Professionally I learnt a lot from my father and I will forever cherish the advice he gave me. Reading all the WhatsApp messages we sent to each other over the years has been giving me some form of relief. It is as if he is still talking to me even after death. I loved my father dearly,” she said.

Selmor now plans to honour the late legend at a gig to be held at Andy Miller Hall on March 29 dubbed “Tuku Music Lives On”. The show is set to be the biggest event in the country celebrating the “life and times” of the late legend. A similar tribute gig was held in South Africa at Joburg Theatre early last month.

Selmor, her sister Sandra and rising star Ashton ‘Mbeu’ Nyahora gave a good account of themselves through extra refined acts.

The Andy Miller show will certainly be an emotional one not just for Selmor but for Dr Tuku’s fans as well. The legend and his backing group the Black Spirits popularised the venue at the turn of the millennium. Who can forget the sight of a packed venue, hundreds of cars stretching from Andy Miller Hall in the Exhibition Park all the way to Samora Machel Avenue while singalongs like “Tozeza Baba” were belted?

Besides, it will be Selmor’s first chance to thank multitudes of Dr Tuku’s local fans through song and dance following the legend’s burial at his rural home in Madziva on January 27. 

Organisers said the gig will feature original Black Spirits members among them Picky Kasamba, drummer Sam Mataure and Never Mpofu.

“I am greatly humbled by the support I have been receiving from my father’s fans. It has really showed me how much they loved him. I’m praying that God gives me the strength to quench their thirst in my own little capacity. I could never fill my father’s shoes, no-one can, but I am going to keep his performing spirit alive for as long as God allows me,” declared Selmor.

“I am so excited about the tribute gig scheduled for March 29. It will be an opportunity for me to honour my father in the best possible way I can and know. At the same time it will also be a great opportunity for me to share the stage with household names at such a big event.”

The question of who should carry on with the legend’s musical legacy has occupied public discourse since Dr Tuku’s death. Names of possible candidates that have been thrown around include that of his widow Daisy, daughter Samantha, and Selmor.

“We had no idea how big our father’s influence was. To us he was just a dad and nothing much. It was only at the funeral that I got to realise how popular he was and I wonder if he also knew he was such a great man.

“I thank his fans for their loyal support and promise them that as long as the Almighty allows me, I will not let their favourite brand of music die, neither will I starve them of pulsating live gigs,” pledged Selmor.

With over a decade in the music industry, Selmor boasts of five albums among them “I Am Woman”, “Expressions” and “Shungu”. The most popular hit-track she has produced thus far is “Nguva Yangu” off the album “Expressions” though others argue “Hangasa”, particularly the video, is the best.

Selmor has several accolades under her belt including a Nama award for Outstanding Female Musician 2015. Sunday Mail

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