Tuku honour well-deserved

HARARE - The honours keep knocking on the door for Zimbabwean music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi — and they are deserved.

Tuku, as he is affectionately known, is responsible for something remarkable in both a Zimbabwean and world context — the rejuvenation of traditional music that was thought to have been lost forever.

Tuku has received an honorary PhD degree in Philosophy, Ethno Musicology and Choreography for contributing “immensely in the growth of the music industry in the country as well as inspiring young and upcoming musicians,” according to the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) vice chancellor Rungano Zvobgo.

He has no doubt done an exceptionally distinguished service to society through his contribution to Zimbabwean music and creative writing.

The award also recognised his service to the community ´through benefit concerts and fund-raising and his collaborations with indigenous musicians and filmmakers.

More than three decades of patient research, instrument making and performances across a huge range of music styles have ensured that this important part of Zimbabwean history and culture has been not only recovered but taken to the world in spellbinding appearances and recordings.

The latest accolade, being awarded an honorary doctorate from Great Zimbabwe University — follows the conferment of an honorary MSc (Fine Arts) Degree  by the Women’s University in Africa in 2009, receiving the University of Zimbabwe and The International Council of Africana Womanism (ICAW) Award for recognition of his luminary role in uplifting African women through his artistic work — music and a diversity of art forms — offered as community development at his arts academy at Pakare Paye in Norton.

Besides being named Zimbabwe’s first Unicef Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern and Southern Africa, Tuku has also been honoured by the government of Italy with the prestigious Cavaliere of the Order of Merit Award in recognition of his work as an international musician. The award is what the Knighthood is to England.

As before, it has been received with the great humility that is a hallmark of Tuku’s character.

“I am very humbled and would like to express my appreciation and gratefulness to this university,” the superstar said. “I never at one time thought that this would happen to me but today I have learnt that there are people out there who have been observing my work and appreciated it, hence they have shown it this way.”

This extraordinary man can rest assured that the music he has saved and taken forward will be guarded by a new generation.

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