Tuku lights up Gwanda festival

HARARE - Veteran musician Oliver Mtukudzi is a man of all seasons but what distinguishes him from the rest of the pack is his penchant for delivering music of highest  quality at the big occasions.

And on Saturday, he chose the 2017 Gwanda Gospel Festival to remind the new breed of musicians that there is no substitute for quality and experience.

Mtukudzi, who celebrates his 65th birthday this month, was performing for the first time in Gwanda after a 20-year absence.

On Saturday, he was performing in front of the old and new generations but what has become his trademark, his polished act was universally acceptable to the bumper crowd which included VVIPs from South Africa and Zimbabwe including sponsors — Bigtime Strategic Group and its founder — Justice Maphosa and family.

Billed as the main act and the only performer who is not entirely into gospel music, Nzou, as Mtukudzi is known by his totem, gave an electric performance befitting the festival which drew a mammoth crowd which packed Pelandaba Stadium to rafters.

Mtukudzi took to the stage with the full backing of the Black Spirits at 00:48 hours and quickly got into serious business by deliberately electing to open with his popular song, Hear Me Lord.

Taken from his 1992 album, Zuwere muKobenhaven (Copenhagen), Hear Me Lord is Mtukudzi’s personal prayer.

“God knew that I would come back. Certainly, it did not feel like its been 20 years since I last performed in this stadium.

“It was written that I was supposed to comeback to Gwanda 20 years later and it was a special reunion because it came via a gospel festival,” he told the Daily News afterwards.

“Hear Me Lord is my personal prayer. Whenever I am frustrated I just sing that Hear Me Lord I am feeling low.

“ I am happy that it is not a periodical song. It has touched many lives and this goes to show you that it’s not a seasonal or periodical song,” added Mtukudzi.

It wasn’t about frustrations on Saturday as Tuku delivered most of the songs that have brought  him musical and commercial success over a career spanning more than 40 years.

Predictably, all time classics such as Tozeza Baba, Todii, Neria and Mutserendende triggered effortless responses from the big crowd as the legendary musician transported them to the years gone by with consummate ease.

For more than two hours, everyone was focused on the big stage as Tuku wowed them.

The  2017 Gwanda festival brought together powerful names in the gospel circles and it was fitting that among the top performers was South African soulful and delightful Solly Mahlangu.

He delivered a few songs from his impressive discography but that wasn’t the main highlight.

While the crowd was captivated by his music he was preparing to win hearts and souls of people “not saved” who were among the thousands in the stadium.

He appeared to have won in his mission as he sent the crowds into silence when he perfectly introduced the subject of his life.

He revealed that he was born out of rape and did not know his biological father but was grateful that indeed God has really been his father.

Paying tribute to his mother ahead of his 46th birthday which falls in October, Mahlangu said there was nothing which shows his mother’s love as she demonstrated to the whole world how faithful she was to the seed she was carrying even if it came via unsavoury means.

“I thank my mother for deciding not to abort me. Next month, I am turning 46 and I really grateful. God has a purpose in your life no matter how you came through,” he said as he concluded his act which was followed by ZimPraise.

Other big names that performed at the festival include Takesure Zamar Ncube, Michael Mahendere, Zara and Gwanda’s well-regarded acts.

The Gwanda festival was launched by Maphosa as a way of uniting the small mining community and celebrate the transformation of his life. Now in its third year, the festival has ceased to be about Gwanda as it has become international.

Maphosa was born in Gwanda, but left for South Africa a very tender age.

He is heavily credited with transforming communities in Matabeleland South directly and indirectly.

Recently he has been involved with the Miss Tourism and Miss World Zimbabwe.

Bigtime Strategic Group is the main sponsor for this year’s carnival which kicked off on Friday.

Comments (1)

Thank you Maphosa. That is giving back to the community. I hope we take a leaf from you!

Meso - 7 September 2017

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