By Mtandazo Dube
It came as no surprise at all when businessman Thompson Dondo of Impala Car Rental sent Selmor Mtukudzi a car gift, at least to me. I have known Dondo for several years and have been part of his wingdings, especially at his rural home in Chivhu.
On two occasions, I found myself being at the same Dondo function with the late national hero Dr Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi. Tuku and Dondo were very close. His image was plastered on Impala Car Rental Cars. He was the company’s brand ambassador.
He performed almost religiously at charity events, which were held at Dondo’s village home. Oftentimes Dondo would join Tuku on stage and after performances the two would tour the various projects that were running there and would be inseparable for the entire day.
When Tuku died, Dondo was inconsolable.
The guy loves and supports music. Any relative of his that wants to do music is supported with everything — from finances to music experts — he goes all out. He also writes music and plays guitar. Dondo told me after the death of Tuku that he related with the late superstar more than he does with the younger generation, and also found his lyrics to be sober and music calming.
He wondered how things would play out for him at a personal level as a Tuku Music fan and for the legacy of Dr Mtukudzi himself. And so when Selmor staged her father’s tribute concert at Andy Millar Hall a few weeks ago, Dondo was in left in no doubt that his fears had been unfounded.
On the day of the tribute concert, he cancelled his engagements in the City of Kings and Queens and drove to Harare, arriving just in time for him to watch Selmor perform.
“I couldn’t miss this. I want to see if she has what it takes to take this brand forward,” he told me as Selmor and her band were taking to the stage.
An hour into the set, a dancing Dondo blurted, “Tuku amuka, Tuku mupenyu (Tuku’s legacy is safe). Just that I did not carry money on me I would have given Selmor real money, United States Dollars. She is definitely destined for the stars.”
A few days later, an unsuspecting Selmor got a call, not from Dondo but a third party. She was given her gift. She wept like a baby. She was told not to say anything but she could not contain herself.
She went on social media and made it public. For Dondo, his friend Tuku may be gone but he is happy that he left behind someone that can carry on the legacy. Dondo says he will continue helping Selmor.
“It’s unfortunate that we are good as done for our SAMA fest in the UK but next year she will definitely be part of it. She is the future. Zimbabwe finally has a female star that can compete with the men in the game. I will do my best for her,” said Dondo.
The romance with the Tuku brand continues not just for Dondo and Impala Car Rental but for the Zimbabwean music industry, the country itself and the world. The king is dead, long live the queen. The Sunday Mail