By Mtandazo Dube
He is gone, but definitely not forgotten. On September 22 this year, he would have turned 67. As had become the norm since his mammoth 60th birthday bash in 2012 – something big would have been brewing by now.
Dinners locally and abroad, a national tour, an exclusive family celebration, a big public birthday bash and sometimes even a new album – the late national hero Dr Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi’s birthday celebrations had become a huge commercial venture.
His brand had overtaken the man, which is why he would let everyone have a piece of the cake. Now, even in death, he continues to be a gold mine and to attract all the big names.
On September 27, Mi Casa of South Africa, Zambian artistes Amayenge and James Sakala, local heavyweights Alick Macheso, Jah Prayzah and Winky D will serenade revellers at the Glamis Arena in honour of the departed legend.
Diana Samkange, on-fire Enzo Ishall, evergreen Tocky Vibes, Zim dancehall bad boy Soul Jah Love and Black Spirits will also take part in the gala, which has been dubbed, “Tuku Memorial Concert and Birthday Celebration”.
The late superstar’s widow Daisy Mtukudzi, Black Spirits manager Walter Wanyanya and promoters Partson Chimbodza of Chipaz Promotions and Taka Mashonganyika are behind the gig.
However, it is Selmor’s absence on the line-up that has raised some eyebrows and is threatening to put a damper on the affair.
Furthermore, when Selmor staged her own father’s memorial gig in late March, her team had a difficult time convincing some top local artistes to support her owing to the burning family squabbles.
Selmor is the late Tuku’s musically gifted daughter largely touted as the heiress to her legendary father’s music legacy.
One of the September gig promoters, Partson Chimbodza aka Chipaz, said he, together with other promoters were simply carrying on with the tradition they started seven years ago when they did the Tuku @ 60 gig. He said just like in previous years, they had ensured that the line-up is top-notch with the crème-de-la-crème of local performers as well as those from the region.
Chipaz said as promoters behind the gig they had approached Selmor but had been informed that she had other commitments. The Sunday Mail Society spoke to Selmor’s sister-cum-manager, Sandra, who confirmed that they would be out of the country on September 27, thus her band is unable to take part in the event.
“We are not available on that date. We are booked elsewhere, we won’t be in the country,” said Sandra, adding, “We are booked till November.”
Asked if Selmor would have performed at the gig had she been around on September 27, Sandra said, “Definitely. We would want to do anything for our father. Anything to do with our father we would want to take part. But obviously, anything to do with our father has to be initiated by the family. This is our father, why would we not want to honour him?”
Sandra also confirmed that she was indeed contacted by one of the organisers and she explained the band’s predicament to them.
“Taka Mashonganyika contacted me and I explained to him that we are booked and also what procedures he should take for such a thing to happen. I told him if it’s anything to do with our dad, family has got to be involved,” said Sandra.
Dr Mtukudzi died on January 23 at a Harare hospital, leaving his family largely in disarray. A large part of his family did not attend his memorial held on April 6 in Madziva while issues of inheritance threatened peace in the family until a Will surfaced declaring his widow, Daisy, the sole beneficiary of the estate.
There has been drama on the music side with Selmor performing with a band called the Original Black Spirits while Daisy continues to run another Black Spirits, the last instrumentalists and backing vocalists to play with Tuku.
Artistes like Pakare Paye Arts Centre-groomed Mbeu have also been sucked into the family squabbles for appearing to be too eager to take the mantle and carry on with Tuku’s legacy. Surprisingly though, Mbeu, who has led the Black Spirits on many occasions locally and abroad since Tuku’s passing, is not on the September 27 line-up. This development has led to speculation with regards to leadership of the Black Spirits, particularly at this forthcoming high-profile gig.
Could it be Daisy herself or her daughter Samantha, who has been with the band since 2016? Only time will tell. The Sunday Mail