'Anti-Mugabe song' costs Tuku degree

HARARE - Music legend Oliver Mtukudzi was denied an honorary degree by the University of Zimbabwe because his hit song Wasakara was deemed to be anti-President Robert Mugabe, a leading academic has claimed.

Wasakara, off the commercially successful Bvuma/Tolerance album released in 2000, was replete with deep-meaning lyrics which implored an old man to accept that age had caught up with him — leading to most Zimbabweans to conclude the superstar meant Mugabe.

“Chief executive officer of Chitungwiza General Hospital, Obadiah Moyo, proposed the idea of honouring Mtukudzi with a University of Zimbabwe doctorate degree owing to his unquestionable contribution to the arts sector,” said academic and music expert, Fred Zindi, while addressing musicians and corporate leaders on Friday at Mtukudzi’s Pakare Paye Arts centre in Norton, where the lanky musician was launching his new album.

“By then, I was in the University of Zimbabwe Council and I presented the issue to the university council and at first the deal was promising but later questions about the meaning of the song Bvuma started to pop up and that was when the deal went wrong.

“The (UZ) council then promised to furnish us with a reply after consulting the university chancellor and up to now they are dilly-dallying with the issue and we are waiting for a reply.”

So popular was Wasakara that in 2001, it landed an engineer — Steven Schadendorff in trouble during a live show at the Harare International Conference Centre — when he shone a beam on the portrait of Mugabe during Tuku’s performance of the song which forced the crowd to sing along.

As the crowd sang along ‘‘Bvuma, Bvuma Chete, Bvuma Wasakara, Bvuma Waunyana (Accept, accept that you are on the wane, accept you now have wrinkles on your skin)’’, Schadendorff continuously shone the beam on the long-serving Zimbabwe leader’s portrait.

Schadendorff who became known as the “Wasakara engineer’ during his trial was spared prison.

Mtukudzi, however, despite missing out on the UZ degree, would go on to be recognised by the Great Zimbabwe University which conferred him with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Ethno-Musicology and Choreography in 2014.

Mtukudzi, who claims he is apolitical, has mastered the art of producing and singing music with deep meaning which he says must be left to his fans to deduce its meaning.

In contrast, outspoken Chimurenga music icon, Thomas Mapfumo who was blasted over the weekend by President Robert Mugabe for his role in last week’s protests in New York, has never hidden his deep-seated dislike of the Zanu PF leader.

Mukanya, as Mapfumo is known in music circles, has often attacked Mugabe’s governance style in hard-hitting songs such as Corruption, Disaster, Mamvemve, Vaurayiwa, Huni, Marima Nzara and Havasevenzi Vapfana among others from an impressive discography.

Mapfumo now resides in Oregon in the United States after relocating in 2002 amid claims he had been targeted by Mugabe’s government in a luxury vehicle probe.

Most of his stinging songs are banned from the State radio stations although he remains a hugely popular figure among Zimbabweans who are enamoured with his music.

Comments (15)

Was he not referring to that spent force? Remember he is the Chancellor of all state universities and there is no way he will allow that nonsense. Conferring who ??? Phela wasakara was 100 percent was directed to that moving goblin, finish and klaar.

Capt D. - 27 September 2016

Tuku is a father of the struggle of chimurenga.Together wth his friend Mukanya.Dzandimomotera is a song nearly all comrades sang in operations during the war.Mhuka inemavara from Mukanya ,in the 70s was inspirational.These 2 heroes deserve more respect than all zanu leaders.We were safe in mozambique while these 2 were living here wth the pple and the enermy.Tuku is now bigger than mugabe bcoz of his followers who actually pay to listern to him,while Mugabe offers food n fake stands to attract crowds.Mukanya is even bigger.

viola gwena - 27 September 2016

@viola gwena,please tete lets refrain from attacking our leaders

truth - 27 September 2016

Would not bother about a degree coming out of a university that dishes out fake degrees he has his music just carry on

Uptn - 27 September 2016

if you respect those older than you then,we will say you have wisdom,and even your children will also respect you as well.we should respect our leaders for the role they played for us ,waingove zundu riri mundove iwewe wakuti goblin manje nokuti wakugona kutaura chirungu,becareful.is that what we call civilised etiquette?.vaurikudaro avo wangu ma hero of all time ,shumba yama bhunu.he is a man of true unsurpassed pedgree.you can not even match his qualities by any standard,idya madora ako wakanyarara apo.

vivazim - 27 September 2016

@Truth. Point taken.Im only describing not insulting nor undermining bt point taken.

viola gwena - 27 September 2016

There was a time i used to think that humans are creted different basing on the colour of their skin, language, culture or religion affiliation but alas, truth is the only diffrence humans have is in consciousness. When we feel victimized its not because of others but our own deep fears of expressing who we trully are inside. When we blame or hate we are only succeeding at ruining ourselvels. We are a creation of the same force (energy) which we call God and this force is working through every person at different conscious levels. When we begin to understand that life is determined by the choices we make everyday we begin to understand that the only rewarding experience is found when we choose to see the good in everything, when we begin to ask what lesson we are learning from all experiences and when we seek to increase and better the experience of life to all those who are less priviledged than us. When we call ourselves leaders what it means is we are helping others to 'lead'. How do we lead? By pulling others to our higher level so that we beging to see things from the same experience and perception. We can not lead by instructions or directives, we can only lead by example, by sharing the experience. What we lack in Africa is leadership that pulls people up through practical experience, we not not teach the way, we must show the way by simply being a practical example of leadership in all things (small and great). Cultures and races that are doing it better economically have more practical experience of things than those that treasure theoretical knowledge.

koolan - 27 September 2016

Musicians, writers of novels or plays are by the nature of their business supposed to be depicting what is happening in society at that particular time. That is why in the 80s Mukanya penned and sang Gandanga unoriziva here ukariona, hero rava kutonga zimbabwe yaro. It shows Mukanya was so passionate about his country then but becoz he is a proffessional artist, you cant blame him when he sang corruption coz then corruption was just starting in zim and reached alarming levels to the extend that he had no option except to pen yet another song Nyika yamaichemera yava mamvemve. Mukanya is such a brilliant and principled man who doesnt praise sing like the likes of Jonathan Moyo who was so rightly critical of Mugabe and his regime only to turn around and say if you cant beat them join them. Mukanya idhara. If we the MDC-T win the 2018 elections we are going to invite Mukanya to be minister of arts and culture.

Robsugar - 28 September 2016

saka kana uchida kuimba kana kutaura wototanga waona kuti hazvina kurerekera kuna mugabe

HITLER - 28 September 2016

Muscians such as Tuku vano taura zviri kuitika ne madimikira. They are Artists who see beyond what we don't see BUT what I know President Mugabe likes Tuke music He even said it during one of his birthday interviews!

Tonderayi Chanakira - 28 September 2016

Muscians such as Tuku vano taura zviri kuitika ne madimikira. They are Artists who see beyond what we don't see BUT what I know President Mugabe likes Tuku music He even said it during one of his birthday interviews!

Tonderayi Chanakira - 28 September 2016

Muscians such as Tuku vano taura zviri kuitika ne madimikira. They are Artists who see beyond what we don't see BUT what I know President Mugabe likes Tuku music He even said it during one of his birthday interviews!

Tonderayi Chanakira - 28 September 2016

Kana wasakara wasakara you cany hide it You need to accept that wasakara Hanzi we should age with grace not disgrace In our leader its disgrace Its a fact Tuku might not have meant RG but masses embraced that song and Mukanya songs because they were telling the truth and the musicians are more bolder than we give them credit for They started the revolution Aluta continua Nyika yaita mabvebve Aint that true That's democracy for you Of course our leader knows these songs target him The songs point at the reality in Zimbabwe

Naphiri Chisayi - 28 September 2016

Tonderayi's view is good

Certified Servant - 29 September 2016

TRU TONDERAI MUKANYA SANG CORRUPTION IN 2000 AND THE LYRICS WERE HELELLELE MATSOTSI HAU HAU HAU YOWERERE VAKOMANA MUCHAMHANYA. IS THAT NOT TRUE OF THE ROT THAT IS THERE TODAY? NOMATTER WHAT PEOPLE MIGHT THINK ITS THE TRUTH DURING CHIMURENGA DIDNT WAR VETS RELATE TO SONGS SUNG DURING THAT PERIOD?MA SONG ANA CHINX EVEN MUKANYA AND TUKU. SIMPLY BECAUSE TODAY MUGABE NDIYE AIMBWA ZVAIPA FUTI.YOU C HIDING SMTHNG OR BANNING SMTHNG WILL MAKE PEOPLE LIKE IT EVEN MORE CHECK THE SALES THAT TEKERES BANNED BIOGRAPHY SOLD

N - 30 September 2016

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