Saturday 26 January 2019


Scores of mourners are expected to throng Madziwa, Mashonaland Central today for the burial of National Hero Dr Oliver Mtukudzi who passed away last week.

The late music and cultural icon succumbed to diabetes at the Avenue Clinic in Harare last Wednesday.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa subsequently declared Dr Mtukudzi a national hero. Government this morning will dispatch 43 buses to ferry mourners to Madziwa for the burial at 2pm. It has been gathered that 30 buses will ferry mourners from Harare, while five have been dispatched to ferry mourners from Mashonaland West and another five set aside for Mashonaland Central. Dr Mtukudzi is the first musician to be accorded national hero status.

Yesterday, a church service was held at Pakare Paya Arts Centre in Norton, before the funeral procession proceeded to the National Sports Stadium for a farewell concert organised by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe. The body was subsequently taken to One Commando Barracks where it was airlifted to Madziwa. 

Speaking at the Mtukudzi family home where he had gone to pay his last respects last week, President Mnangagwa said the death of Dr Mtukudzi had robbed the country of a hero.

“So, as we sat as the leadership we asked ourselves, ‘If he had such global reach what kind of honour can we accord him since he was one of our own?’ So, as the Politburo, we agreed unanimously that he be given the highest honour. Everyone was agreeable,” said President Mnangagwa.

“To Amai Mtukudzi, I want to say on behalf of our party Zanu-PF, Government and myself as President and on behalf of all Zimbabweans that we have agreed that he be declared a national hero.

He continued: “The nation has been robbed of a hero and I want to say to the Mtukudzi family that the whole country is mourning with you. Death affects all of us irrespective of one’s physical or social standing: it is God’s plan and no one knows when their time will come.”

The late Dr Mtukudzi was a global music icon who elicited respect from many people including world leaders.

Through his music, he spoke against societal ills including women and child abuse. He was also a strong advocate of HIV and Aids prevention and awareness. Dr Mtukudzi was a United Nations Children’s Fund regional goodwill ambassador. Through his Tuku Music, Mtukudzi represented the country regionally and internationally.

Tuku, as he was affectionately known, began performing in 1977 after joining 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. Tuku is also a contributor to Mahube, Southern Africa’s “super group”. The late Mtukudzi is father of five children and has two grandchildren. One of his child – Selmor – is a musician while his son Sam, also a musician, died in a car accident in March 2010. Sunday Mail


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