Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Tuku throws shade at new book

By Vasco Chaya

Master of song – Oliver Mtukudzi does not intend to seek a court injunction to stop his former publicist from publishing a second tell-all book about his life – but instead says he has no time for “every barking dog”.

Music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi at Tsvangirai's funeral
Music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi at Morgan Tsvangirai’s funeral

The celebrated lanky musician was in 2015 miffed by his former publicist — veteran journalist Shepherd Mutamba — who published a book Tuku Backstage which contained some riveting stuff on his public and private life.

Mutamba announced on Monday that he would be publishing an expanded second edition of Tuku Backstage next week — raising the prospects of a fierce fight with his former boss.

But Tuku yesterday said he was not fazed by the details in the book and would not care about its publication.

Speaking through his publicist Walter Wanyanya, Tuku said he will not take action against Mutamba for “it is everyone’s democratic right to…”.

“It’s news to us. We were not aware of this new development but after all who cares? It is his democratic right to do so and at the same time it is not Tuku’s business to respond to whatever is said about him, his core business is to produce good music.

“Surely, we have no time to pay attention to every barking dog,” Wanyanya said on behalf of the music superstar.

Mutamba worked with Mtukudzi for over five years as his publicist.

He first published Tuku Backstage in 2015 and caused serious consternation within the Mtukudzi family and among a legion of his followers.

Tuku Backstage 2 is an expanded book with new additional 11 chapters and contains 188 pictures of the musician mostly not seen in public before.

Yesterday, Mutamba said there was no need to seek permission from the Bvuma hit- maker to write the book.

“Anyone with a pen, opinion or facts can write a book about Tuku, his music and life without consulting him.

“Unless Tuku, himself, has commissioned the book and enters into an agreement with the writer, then he has the right to know about the book and every stage of writing and also having to approve the content.

“I don’t have an agreement with him to that effect. Out of courtesy only and not obligation, I am going to give him an autographed personal copy of the book,” said Mutamba.

“I will organise to meet him and if he accepts my visit it will be our first meeting since 2013. If he decides to chase me away, lock his gate or ignore me completely or shoot me, that will be up to him.

“I want to believe that he doesn’t live in denial anymore and accepts all the truths and criticism in the book and learn from his deficiencies as a man, father, icon and businessperson.

“If he corrects his wrongs he will stay away from trouble and bad publicity for a man and musician who has achieved so much,” added Mutamba.

“Tuku’s story can never be written and exhausted by a single writer or one or two, three, books.

“His colossal music career and iconic figure continues to inspire me to write more books about his musicianship and inevitably his personality,” he added.

He said the difference between the first edition and the second edition is that the latest book is an enriched version of the first book.

“There is 1 000 percent value addition in the second book,” he said.

The new book, printed on gloss paper, is full colour throughout with 188 pictures, nearly all of them unseen before.

The orientation of the book is A4 size landscape with 255 pages.

The first book covered 24 chapters.

An additional 11 chapters have now been included in the second edition that also has three pages of references and Tuku’s milestones.

A comprehensive discography of Tuku’s music is included with a full list of titles of tracks, on every album, and the years of release from 1978 to 2016.

Mutamba said he photographed the entire book over a period spanning nearly a decade when he worked closely with Tuku as his publicist.

“The pictures capture some of Tuku’s key points in music but also familiarise the reader, fan and archivist with some of Tuku’s life experiences as a man, family man, husband, father, grandfather, brother, businessperson and African.

“I reckon the strength of the second edition is demonstrated by the manner that photographs trace and unpack Tuku’s life and colossal music and, in so doing, also elevate music photography in its literary form,” said Mutamba of the second edition.

“However, a wide spectrum of pictures, based on Tuku’s creative processes, dominate the book. A chapter titled Photographing Tuku — The Body Language narrates my first-hand experience and the intricacies of photographing Tuku.

“The book shows pictures of Tuku’s intense moments on stage. I interpret his body language to give his fans and readers an understanding of the meaning of some of his gestures, postures and facial expressions when he is communicating non-verbally during a song.

“My close work, of many years, with Tuku, as publicist, gave me a very firm handle on his music, meaning and body language,’ said Mutamba.

In the first book released in 2015, Mutamba made a sensational claim that former president Robert Mugabe bought the influential music maestro’s loyalty by showering him with expensive gifts so that he would desist from criticising the nonagenarian.

Mutamba claimed that Mugabe had given the music icon an expensive state-of-the-art studio equipment, among other gifts.

“In October 2010, Tuku accepted a gift of $87 000 worth of state-of-the art studio equipment directly from the-then president.

“He (Tuku) told me about the gift and showed me the equipment that he kept under lock and key, right in his office and not in the storeroom,” Mutamba said in the book which raised the ire of Mtukudzi.

Before delivery of the state-of-the-art studio equipment to Tuku, Mugabe and his wife Grace had also contributed
$5 000 towards the funeral expenses of the world-famous musician’s son, Sam, who died in a tragic car accident in March 2010.

Mutamba also claimed Tuku had accepted free advertising in State media that had been arranged by politicians to announce Sam’s memorial service, against his advice. DailyNews